HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis

by APOPO vzw
Feb 12, 2009

Landmine and Tuberculosis Detection Update

Ziko HeroRAT training on the field
Ziko HeroRAT training on the field

We hope this update finds you all well! Here at APOPO we are enjoying a year full of new beginnings and look forward to conquering new challenges and creating new solutions in Tanzania and Mozambique.

In landmine detection, the HeroRATS have been busy working as usual—training, breeding, and demining in Mozambique. 11 rats passed their final stages of training in December bringing the total to 53 fully trained mine detection rats in 2008! We were also blessed with ten new baby rats in our breeding program last month.

Throughout 2008 in Mozambique, our HeroRATS found 33 mines and 83 Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). Additionally, due to continuous process refinement by the staff and our Program Director, we have had a giant leap in our clearance capacity; HeroRATS can now clear 2,000 square meters every day.

Our validation study with our HeroRATS as Tuberculosis detectors, is ongoing. Our HeroRATS, as a second screening for Tuberculosis suspected patients at 4 of the best hospital clinics in Tanzania, were able to identify 344 patients over the last year that were missed by human lab technicians. Those patients were contacted again by the hospitals and are now receiving treatment.

The detection of those 344 people affects far more than the 344 people that have TB. TB is an airborne disease that is spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or spits near another person. Therefore it is a very contagious and rapidly spread disease, especially in densely populated areas. A person with an active, untreated case of TB can infect 15 people every single year! As more and more people go undetected, the problem grows exponentially as unknowing people infect others. However, if people with TB know that they are infected, then they can begin treatment and eventually cease to be contagious. In the next year alone, 5,160 people have been protected from developing TB because the HeroRATS have detected 344 TB positive people!

We have had a really great year thanks to our many supporters!

Your support really does make a difference. Thank you again and we look forward to hearing from you and sharing upcoming results.

Warm regards,

The HeroRAT Team


  • jappletonclark
    jappletonclark this appears to be a worthwhile project and it needs much wider publicity. so I'm glad to see it's progressing.
    • 8 years ago
    •  · 
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Organization Information


Location: Morogoro, Tanzania - Tanzania, United Republic of
Website: http:/​/​www.apopo.org
Project Leader:
Paul Delbar
Public Fundraising Manager
Sokoine University, Morogoro Tanzania, United Republic of

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