NPR

As A Boy, He Learned About Science By Rubbing Calves' Ears

Dr. Thumbi Mwangi had a eureka moment when he began researching a cattle disease in the U.S. The treatment was the same thing his dad the farmer had him do when he was growing up in Kenya.
Dr. Thumbi Mwangi, an infectious disease epidemiologist from Kenya, at Howard Theatre in Washington, DC, on Nov. 29, 2016. In the U.S., Mwangi worked on a vaccine for cows that aimed to combat the same disease he saw the bovine battle in Kenya as a kid. Source: Akash Ghai

When Dr. Thumbi Mwangi was a child growing up in Kenya, his father would send him out to care for the calves.

There was a disease — East Coast fever — infecting cattle. If the cattle were infected with the protozoan, it could be deadly. Mwangi's job was to rub the young cattle gently behind the ears, to see if he could feel their lymph nodes. If the lymphs were swollen, it could mean that the calf was getting sick. If the illness was treated in time with buparvaquone, the calf could be saved — and the animal would be immune for life.

"We would treat the cattle through injections

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