Training dogs to smell bacteria

Researchers have actually trained a beagle named Cliff to detect the intestinal bacteria Clostridium difficile on patients and in stool samples that were collected from infected patients in the Netherlands. This infection is common in hospitals and long-term treatment facilities. Infection with the contagious C. diff results in diarrhea that has been responsible for the deaths of up to 14,000 Americans each year. Having a dog sniff out the infection may seem absurd until you consider it can take up to a week to detect the infection using traditional laboratory techniques. Being able to detect the infection early may prevent deadly outbreaks from occuring.



British Medical Journal

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