Tuberculosis is the world’s most infectious disease. 9 million people contract it every year, 3 million go undiagnosed and 1.5 million die. To help combat this, medical researches are using the African Pouch Rat to sniff-out positive tuberculosis samples in Tanzania and Mozambique. The rat has an extraordinary sense of smell and it can check around 100 samples in 20 minutes. This would take a lab technician in a public clinic in these countries up to 4 days.
The African Pouch rat is also being used in Cambodia to assist with landmine clearing.