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Dogs to be used to detect COVID-19 at Australian hospital

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A team of detector dogs will be unleashed at Adelaide's Lyell McEwin Hospital as part of a pilot study to help screen for COVID-19.

Four labradors will have handlers from SA Pathology and will be stationed at the hospital's emergency department.

"Accurate early detection is where the true benefit lies in this study, as people can be infectious before showing any symptoms of COVID-19 and can unwittingly spread the virus," SA Pathology clinical services director Dr Sophia Otto said.

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The labradors will have handlers from SA Pathology and will be stationed at the Lyell McEwin Hospital's emergency department.

SA Health says the dogs will be expected to rely on their acute sense of smell to identify COVID-positive visitors entering the hospital.

At the triage stage, patients and visitors at Lyell McEwin will have the chance to be screened by the dogs as part of existing virus testing means.

The trained dogs will be at the hospital for six weeks, with two dogs on site at a time.

Each dog has been trained to inspect up to 100 people per hour.

"The dogs have a remarkable ability to detect the scent of viral infection before an individual develops symptoms or spreads the virus," Otto said.



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