The animals were trained to find out if anyone was infected with malaria by simply sniffing their socks, the study published Monday said.
Lindsay & # 39; s team tested their idea in Gambia, where they collected socks for 600 schoolchildren aged 5 to 13 years of malaria. The socks were used to train dogs in the UK for four months.
"We took the socks that had caught the children's scent overnight, and flew them to Britain, where the dogs were smelled and trained to distinguish samples that were infected or not," Lindsay said.
Of the samples, 1
By smelling the socks on their own, the dogs – Lexi, a Labrador Golden Retriever, and Sally, a lab – were able to catch 70% of the infected children and 90% of the uninfected Children recognize exactly.
The study shows that dogs can be used as tools for malaria detection, as they have in the diagnosis of some cancers, the researchers said.
But after this pilot study more research is needed, the authors warn that the method is still in the early stages of the trial. They would have to test the technique on samples from other countries before the animals can be used on the field, they said .
Further studies also need to Especially in African countries, to see if dogs can detect "directly" malaria in the nose infected people, the team said.
The detection rates could have been higher – up to 78% – if the malaria children had the same malaria parasite type, they added.
The researchers believe that their findings could be useful to detect malaria in people who show no signs of fever, a common symptom, and therefore prevent their spread, especially in countries that have eliminated the disease. The identification would also help people to be treated early with malaria drugs.
"It is useful in countries such as South Africa, just before we kill, or Sri Lanka, which has eliminated malaria.How do you find that a person in a million people carries the parasite in a country that is not infected without invasive testing Lindsay said:
The method may not be effective in endemic countries such as Nigeria, where malaria is actively transmitted, Lindsay said.
"Dogs are good in countries where they do not get infections or where they are, they are malaria-free, and you must prevent people from bringing malaria into the country … through the airport or the ports."
Claire Guest, CEO of Medical Detection Dogs, said she was excited about the results. This is the first time that the charity has trained dogs to detect a parasitic infection, although their dogs have helped detect dogs and detect diabetes. A dog named Freya has been trained since the first malaria detection study.
She said the findings have the potential to make dogs cost-effective tools for diagnosing tropical diseases, especially in areas where they are missing.  "I believe that this study shows that dogs have an excellent ability to recognize malaria, and when presented inside a person infected with the parasite or a piece of recently worn clothing, their accuracy becomes extremely high be invasive test and is extremely exciting for the future, "said guest.