New Test for Dengue Virus Approved

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a new diagnostic test to detect the presence of dengue virus in people with symptoms of dengue fever or dengue hemorrhagic fever. The CDC DENV-1-4 Real Time RT PCR Assay test, authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States, can be performed using equipment and supplies many public health laboratories already use to diagnose influenza. It will help diagnose dengue within the first 7 days after symptoms of the illness ap­pear, which is when most people are likely to seek professional care and the dengue virus is likely to be present in their blood. This is the first FDA-ap­proved molecular test for dengue that de­tects evidence of the virus itself. Den­gue is now a reportable disease in the United States, and the availability of state-of-the-art dengue diagnostics will improve pa­tient management and the public health response to dengue. Sy­mp­toms include high fever, severe head­ache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash and mild bleeding in­volving the nose or gums, and easy bruising. Severe infections can result in hemorrhage, shock, and death. Dengue is caused by any of 4 dengue viruses, which are transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. 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. People with symptoms should immediately contact a healthcare professional. Early identification may be very helpful in determining the best course of treatment. More information about the new laboratory test can be obtained at cdc.gov/dengue.
(Source: CDC, June 20, 2012)