Dr. Fido? Trained Dogs Can Smell 'Superbug' Bacteria, Help Prevent Deadly Outbreaks in Hospitals

From Airport Security to Hospital Early-Detection System It's well-known that man's best friend has an extraordinary keen sense of smell, with some promising studies even showing that dogs can detect certain types of cancers.

But it turns out that Rex's nose, if properly trained, can also detect a very common and tenacious type of bacterial infection that can be deadly to the weakened patients in hospitals and care homes.

Dutch scientists have published a proof of principle study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that explains how they trained a 2 year old beagle called Cliff to detect the signature smell of the Clostridium difficile superbug, and how it was able to identify with a high degree of precision which hospital patients were infected with the bateria and which were not, either by smelling stool samples or just from smelling the air around the patients.(Source)

Early detection with the help of trained dogs could be a low-cost way to save lives, showing that sometimes the solution to a problem is found in nature, right under our nose!

The researchers add that the dog was quick and efficient, screening a complete hospital ward for the presence of patients with C. difficile infection in less than 10 minutes.

They point to some study limitations, such as the unpredictability of using an animal as a diagnostic tool and the potential for spreading infections via the dog, and say some unanswered questions remain.

However, they say their study demonstrates that a detection dog can be trained to identify C. difficile infection with a high degree of accuracy, both in stool samples and in hospitalised patients. "This could have great potential for C. difficile infection screening in healthcare facilities and thus contribute to C. difficile infection outbreak control and prevention," they conclude.(Source)

Here's what C. difficile looks like:

VIDEO Cliff and C. diff - Smelling the diagnosis

Responses to "Dog trained to sniff out deadly C. difficile superbug (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    And in parts of the world people eat these magnificent creatures!

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