How the Dengue Rapid Test Kit has Changed Conventional Diagnosis

    How the Dengue Rapid Test Kit has Changed Conventional Diagnosis

    Even as the COVID-19 virus became the world’s biggest health challenge in 2020, dengue continues to be a concern.¹ While the management of dengue remains much the same, testing for the condition has evolved to include the dengue rapid test. This type of test has myriad benefits and can go a long way in helping with early diagnosis of dengue.

    A brief overview of dengue

    Dengue fever is a viral infection common in countries with warm, humid climates. It is carried by female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The virus enters the mosquito when it bites a person infected with dengue. When this infected mosquito bites another person, the virus is spread to him/her. There is an incubation period of 4-10 days after a bite from a dengue-virus-infected mosquito, after which symptoms may show.

    Some people might not even show any symptoms, while others may develop symptoms that are often similar to those of influenza and/or COVID-19. The World Health Organisation (WHO) categorises this mosquito-borne disease as dengue (mild to moderate symptoms) and severe dengue. The latter is also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever.²,³

    There is no treatment for dengue. However, getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated is the best path for recovery, says the WHO.⁴

    Conventional testing for dengue

    There are several conventional ways of testing for dengue, according to the WHO.⁴

    • Virus isolation: A blood test is conducted during the first few days of infection, and the virus is isolated from the blood. This is done via several types of methods called reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR) tests. These tests are considered the gold standard, and can only be conducted by trained medical staff. It also requires specialised equipment and laboratories.
    • Detection of anti-dengue antibodies: Certain methods detect anti-dengue antibodies (known as IgM/ IgG) in the blood, thereby confirming infection. IgM antibodies are usually present around one week following infection. They remain in the body for around three months. IgG antibodies levels take longer to develop and may remain in the body for years.

    Once these tests are conducted, it generally takes a few days for the results to be available.

    Dengue rapid testing

    Many rapid dengue tests detect a protein in the blood that is produced by the dengue virus.⁴ Other more sophisticated rapid tests can detect not only these proteins, but also IgM and IgG antibodies in human blood. Because these tests are based on advanced technology, the results show high levels of accuracy.⁵

    The biggest benefit of a dengue rapid test is the speed at which results are available – in approximately 15-20 minutes – reducing time spent in hospitals or clinics.

    As opposed to conventional diagnostic tests which usually require throat or nasal swabs, a dengue rapid test involves the drawing of blood. As such, the test can only be administered by a medically-trained staff. It is not a test that can be done at home.

    If unwell during dengue season, getting tested is imperative

    Getting tested for dengue is crucial if you or a loved one show any symptoms of dengue. A quick and accurate diagnosis using a dengue rapid test means that the next steps can be decided on faster by a healthcare professional, enabling more effective management of the infection. This is also useful in providing fast and accurate diagnosis in the event of dengue reinfection – proper management is essential in this case to prevent progression to severe dengue.⁴

    हैलो हेल्थ ग्रुप हेल्थ सलाह, निदान और इलाज इत्यादि सेवाएं नहीं देता।

    सूत्र
    1.   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dengue around the world. Last reviewed in November 2021. Accessed on 4th May, 2022 from https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/areaswithrisk/around-the-world.html
    2.       Ministry of Health, Singapore. Dengue. Last updated on 25 November, 2020. Accessed on 4th May, 2022 from https://www.moh.gov.sg/diseases-updates/dengue
    3.   World Health Organization. Dengue and severe dengue. Accessed on 4th May, 2022 from https://www.who.int/health-topics/dengue-and-severe-dengue#tab=tab_1
    4.       World Health Organization. Dengue and severe dengue. Accessed on 5th May, 2022 from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dengue-and-severe-dengue
    5. Yow, K. et al. Rapid diagnostic tests for the detection of recent dengue infections: An evaluation of six kits on clinical specimens. PLOS ONE. Published April 1, 2021. Accessed on 6th May, 2022 from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249602

     

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