US CDC develops new test for dengue fever

Updated: Jun 21, 2012, 13:15 PM IST

Washington: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Wednesday that it has developed a new diagnostic test to detect the presence of dengue virus in people with symptoms of dengue fever or dengue hemorrhagic fever.

According to the CDC, the test has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States and can be performed using equipment and supplies many public health laboratories already use to diagnose influenza.

The new test will help diagnose dengue within the first seven days after symptoms of the illness appear, which is when most people are likely to see a health care professional and the dengue virus is likely to be present in their blood. The test can identify all four dengue virus types.

Dengue is caused by any of four dengue viruses, which are transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Dengue is a major public health problem in the tropics and subtropics, which includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where thousands of U.S. citizens develop dengue every year.

Symptoms of dengue include high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain. Severe infections can result in hemorrhage, shock, and death. Although there are no FDA-licensed vaccines to prevent dengue and no medicines specifically approved to treat the disease, timely medical care can greatly reduce the possibility of death.