Can Dogs Help Diagnose Malaria?

Find out how dogs might be able to detect malaria.

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Dogs have the potential to be helpful when it comes to detecting malaria. A study conducted by the Department of Biosciences at Durham University revealed that dogs might be able to be trained to smell the malaria parasite on humans.

Researchers at Durham University collected children's socks -- some of whom had malaria and others who did not. Researchers then brought in trained dogs to sniff the socks for the virus. Some dogs "were able to accurately detect 70% of infected children and 90% of uninfected children." However, further research in other countries is needed to ensure dogs can accurately sniff out the parasite.

This research is beneficial because training dogs to smell malaria is useful when it comes to people who have the disease but don't show common symptoms. Trained dogs will also be helpful in countries that are malaria-free: dogs can be positioned in airports to smell people coming in and out of countries with the parasite.

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