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Kelowna  

Sniffing out superbugs

Madison Erhardt

Angus may look like an ordinary dog, but he's been trained to sniff out a superbug that's the bane of hospitals across B.C.

The super sniffer can smell C. difficile, a persistent bacteria responsible for many hospital and long-term care home disease outbreaks.

Vancouver Coastal Health staff made a stop with Angus at Kelowna General Hospital Monday afternoon. 

"Angus is teaching us so much about environmental contamination with C. diff and the different places we are finding reservoirs, things that you would think are common sense, but you don't think of until he points it out to you," said handler Teresa Zurberg. 

Angus is trained the same as a bomb dog or drug dog.

''When we train him, we create an association. If he finds the odour, he gets what he really wants, which for him is either food or his squeaky toy," Zurberg said. 

Lab machines can test for the bacteria, but are unable to detect it if it gets left behind – and that's where Angus shines. 

Clostridium difficile colitis is an infection of the colon by the bacterium, the full name of which is Clostridium difficile.



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