One of the problems with dengue is that in the early stages, it’s easy to confuse its symptoms with those of other illnesses. High temperatures, headaches, a loss of appetite, or a sore throat might make a sufferer think that they have the flu, and it is not until the fever begins that the more serious symptoms can kick in. That’s when patients need medical attention, and fast.
The successful treatment of dengue hinges on quick diagnosis. Now researchers from the University of Hawaii have found that an existing dengue test works much quicker than standard tests. It’s a breakthrough in dengue detection.
The test searches for anti-dengue virus IgM antibodies, produced a few days after the beginning of dengue fever. This approach can cut diagnosis time to less than five hours. (In-house tests searching for similar antibodies traditionally take two to three days.) InBios, the manufacturer, received FDA approval for its dengue test back in 2011.
But while a faster test is a positive development, it only represents one part of the dengue problem. There are other issues – social, environmental, and economic – that need longer than five hours to get fixed.