– Dog sniffs out superbug (Telegraph, Dec 14, 2012):
A dog trained to sniff out patients with the ‘superbug’ C.difficile can clear entire hospital ward in matter of minutes with 80 per cent success rate, claim experts.
The dog, a beagle named Cliff, can sniff out the potentially deadly infection on samples taken from patients and even just from walking around the ward sniffing the air, according to a report published online in the British Medical Journal.
Dogs have been trained to sniff out a variety of diseases, warn epileptics of impending fits and can be trained to assist disabled people, but this is thought to be the first time one has been found to able to detect Clostridium difficile.
C. difficile infection most commonly occurs in older people who have recently had a course of antibiotics in hospital, but it can also start in the community, especially in care homes. Symptoms can range from mild diarrhoea to a life-threatening inflammation of the bowel and the elderly are most at risk.