New Zealand biologists believe that honeybees can sense the faint floral odor on the breath of people infected with tuberculosis, and are trying to find a way to train bees to help them diagnose TB:
“When we tested them with the tuberculosis odours we found the bees can still smell it down to parts per billion,” says Max Suckling.
Christchurch zoologists are training bees to associate the smell of the disease with a sweet treat and to stick out their tongues when it's present.
Worldwide new TB infections occur at a rate of one per second. Right now it's diagnosed medically by expensive tests and with the disease being most common in poverty stricken areas, using bees instead could make a real difference.
Bees help in the battle against tuberculosis
(Image: Honeybee on Snakeroot, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from dendroica's photostream)
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