Medicine for the Outdoors
Medicine for the Outdoors

Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.

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New Test for Dengue

Dengue is a viral disease, transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, that afflicts many travelers to tropical regions, such as the Caribbean and southeast Asia. Part of the problem with diagnosing dengue is near total reliance upon the clinical signs and symptoms, which can resemble other febrile (involving fever) diseases. Until now, the only practical laboratory test to diagnose dengue was based upon recognition of antibodies of the IgM class in the bloodstream of a patient who has contracted the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently announced that it has developed a new diagnostic test for dengue (fever or hemorrhagic fever, a more severe form of dengue). It has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the U.S.

Named the CDC DENV-1-4 Real Time RT PCR Assay, it is intended to aid in the diagnosis of dengue in the first seven days after the onset of symptoms. According to the press release from the CDC, it can detect all four dengue virus types.  As compared to the IgM test, which may not be effective at diagnosis until four or more days from the onset of symptoms, the new test should be reliable as soon as symptoms appear, which correlates with a significant viral burden in the bloodstream. Another excellent feature is the fact that the new test can be performed using equipment and supplies already used by many public health laboratories to influenza (the “flu”).


To learn more about this new laboratory test, visit the CDC dengue website at



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Tags: General Interest

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About the Author

Dr. Paul S. Auerbach is the world’s leading authority on wilderness medicine.