Your body odour may indicate malaria- Do you know

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Representational Image
Representational Image

New Delhi : A recent study reveals that the sudden change in body odour gives the hint of certain infection among humans. During the process of identifying malaria patients, researchers found individuals who show no malaria symptoms and therefore came up with interesting discovery.

The study conducted by the Penn State, suddenly altered body odour indicates malaria even if the microscope doesn't.

Health experts believe that Typhoid Mary may have infected a hundred or more people, but asymptomatic carriers of malaria infect far more people every year. A team of researchers, while working toward a way to identify malaria patients observed a few infected individuals who show no malaria symptoms yet complaint about sudden change in body odour.

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 at slow pace.

"Our previous work in a mouse model found that malaria infection altered the odours of infected mice in ways that made them more attractive to mosquitoes, particularly at a stage of infection where the transmissible stage of the parasite was present at high levels," said researcher Consuelo De Moraes.

Experts say malaria infection does not create new volatile chemicals in the body but changes the amounts of volatile chemicals that are already present in the odours of healthy people.

"It is interesting that the symptomatic and asymptomatic infections were different from each other as well as from healthy people," said researcher Mark C. Mescher.

This difference among infected, infected asymptomatic, and healthy individuals may finally lead to tests able of fast and perfectly identifying infected people, even those without symptoms.

The researchers reported that analytical models using machine learning constantly identify infection status based on volatile biomarkers. They stated, "Our models identified asymptomatic infections with 100 percent sensitivity, even in the case of low-level infections not detectable by microscopy."

The study appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.