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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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 test, called the CDC DENV-1-4 Real Time RT PCR Assay, 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.
This is the first FDA-approved molecular test for dengue that detects evidence of the virus itself. The other available FDA-approved test detects a certain type of antibody to dengue virus. Most patients begin to develop these antibodies four days after they become ill.
However, because not everyone develops these antibodies until seven days after they get sick, the antibody test might not recognize dengue early in a patient's illness.
"The need for the new dengue diagnostic test was high," said Jorge L. Munoz-Jordan, Ph.D., chief of the Molecular Diagnostics and Research at the CDC Dengue Branch. "Patients will be diagnosed sooner than before, and public health laboratories will have a clearer picture of the true number of dengue cases. 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."
One of the new test's most important features is that it can be performed using equipment and supplies that many public health laboratories already use to diagnose influenza. This makes it possible to begin using the test in the many laboratories in the United States and internationally that already run influenza Real-Time PCR assays, a frequently used flu test also developed by CDC.
The new test will be available to clinical and public health laboratories within the United States and internationally. Kits were made available for distribution beginning July 2.
Published: July 12, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 13