People carrying the malaria parasite have a signature scent, and a recent study shows that dogs can be trained to identify someone infected with malaria simply by sniffing their socks. Dogs have been previously trained to use smell to diagnose diabetes and some forms of cancer, and current research shows their heightened sense of smell can help detect malaria. Researchers believe these findings will help identify malaria in people who do not display common symptoms, such as a fever, and will therefore help prevent it from spreading. More research needs to be done after this study, but the non-invasiveness and reliability of this test has the potential to be very exciting for the future.
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