apopo rat

 

Rats and TB

 

Rats are commonly seen as bringers of diseases. But not in Morogoro, where the Sokoine University, together with the Belgium organization APOPO, has trained giant African rats to detect TB in sputum samples. Since both regular scans and sputum tests are not a 100 percent accurate in discovering TB, the rats can detect TB in patients who would normally go undiscovered.

APOPO has trained giant African rats because these rodents are among animals with the best developed sense of smells. In countries like Cambodia APOPO uses them to detect landmines buried in the ground, and in Tanzania and Mozambique the rats detect the presence of TB molecules in sputum samples.  

APOPO is currently working together with 28 TB clinics in Dar Es Salaam, and the rats have detected over 8000 previously undetected TB cases. Mukikute supports APOPO’s confirmed TB patients with treatment support and follow up.