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Short communication - Abstract

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Amanda M Mahoney, Bart J Weetjens, Christophe Cox, Negussie Beyene, Georgies Mgode, Maureen Jubitana, Dian Kuipers, Rudovic Kazwala, Godfrey S Mfinanga, Amy Durgin, Alan Poling. Using giant African pouched rats to detect tuberculosis in human sputum samples: 2010 findings.
The Pan African Medical Journal. 2011;9:28

Key words: Giant pouched rats, Tuberculosis detection, disease, operant conditioning, Africa

Permanent link: http://www.panafrican-med-journal.com/content/article/9/28/full

Received: 06/06/2011 - Accepted: 06/07/2011 - Published: 18/07/2011

© Amanda M Mahoney et al.   The Pan African Medical Journal - ISSN 1937-8688. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Using giant African pouched rats to detect tuberculosis in human sputum samples: 2010 findings


Amanda M Mahoney1,&, Bart J Weetjens1, Christophe Cox1, Negussie Beyene1, Georgies Mgode1, Maureen Jubitana1, Dian Kuipers1, Rudovic Kazwala2, Godfrey S Mfinanga3, Amy Durgin1, Alan Poling1


1Anti-Persoonsmijnen Ontmijnende Product Ontwikkeling (APOPO), Morogoro, Tanzania, 2Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania, 3National Institute of Medical Research, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania



&Corresponding author
Amanda M Mahoney, Anti-Persoonsmijnen Ontmijnende Product Ontwikkeling (APOPO), PO BOX 3078, Morogoro, Tanzania




Giant African pouched rats previously have detected tuberculosis (TB) in human sputum samples in which the presence of TB was not initially detected by smear microscopy. Operant conditioning principles were used to train these rats to indicate TB-positive samples. In 2010, rats trained in this way evaluated 26,665 sputum samples from 12,329 patients. Microscopy performed at DOTS centers found 1,671 (13.6%) of these patients to be TB-positive. Detection rats identified 716 additional TB-positive patients, a 42.8% increase in new-case detection. These previously unreported data, which extend to over 20,000 the number of patients evaluated by pouched rats in simulated second-line screening, suggest that the rats can be highly valuable in that capacity.