Altered body odour indicates malaria, says study

Updated:1 month, 1 week ago IST

New Delhi, May 16 (ANI): Turns out, an altered body odour can indicate a specific infection among humans. According to a study conducted by the Penn State, suddenly altered body odour indicates malaria even if the microscope doesn't. Typhoid Mary may have infected a hundred or more people, but asymptomatic carriers of malaria infect far more people every year. An international team of researchers was working toward a way to identify malaria patients including infected individuals who show no malaria symptoms and hence made the interesting discovery. People who have malaria but are not symptomatic abound in the heaviest areas of malaria infestation. Even blood tests do not necessarily pick up the infection with the Plasmodium parasite, especially at low parasite densities. DNA tests for the parasite usually show infection, but they are far from rapid. The researchers wanted to see if they could identify changes in human odours associated with malaria infection that might be useful for diagnosing infected individuals. They were particularly interested in identifying those who were infected but had no symptoms. Only if both microscopy and DNA studies were negative were subjects considered malaria-free. Infected patients for the initial studies were both microscopy and DNA positive for malaria. In some later analyses, the researchers included 77 people who were positive for malaria according to DNA but showed no parasites in the microscopic tests. These results far exceed any currently available rapid diagnostic tests.

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