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Tuberculosis (TB) is now the world's leading cause of death due to an infectious disease. Every year TB claims 1,5 million lives and an untreated TB-patient can infect a dozen other people per year, making the need for faster TB diagnosis paramount. APOPO is working towards curbing the spread of TB by training African giant pouched rats to evaluate sputum samples more swiftly and efficiently.
APOPO’s Tuberculosis (TB) Research and Training center was the first ever to evaluate rats as a diagnostic tool in human health. It takes about 9 months to fully train a Tuberculosis detection rat and once trained they can screen thousands of sputum samples every month. The research and development in this diagnostic approach seeks to curb the spread of this deadly disease.
APOPO's Tuberculosis detection rats screen tens of thousands of sputum samples collected from TB clinics in Dar es Salaam every year. As a result, many TB patients which were first diagnosed as negative are now identified and can start treatment.
Tuberculosis was declared a national emergency in Mozambique in March 2006. APOPO supports the country’s Ministry of Health TB control program. Our TB detection operations in Maputo help identify a maximum number of TB patients in the shortest possible time, assuring they can start a timely treatment.