|MadSci Network: Microbiology|
Dengue is a virus disease carried by certain species of mosquitoes. The disease is characterized by a high fever, many severe aches, and sometimes a rash. Some infected people show few or no symptoms; but in others, the disease may progress to a more severe form called dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal. When a doctor sees a typical case, dengue may be suspected, but laboratory confirmation is needed. A sample of the patient�s blood may be tested for the virus, or for antibody that the patient has produced against the virus. Samples taken during the first five days of illness can be tested for the presence of the virus by a system called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR testing for viruses and other agents is now widely used for diagnostic and other purposes: special equipment and training are needed. Samples taken later are tested only for antibody. The antibody test may be performed with a commercial kit by a county, state, or commercial laboratory. The kits vary in sensitivity and typically cannot tell the difference between the four types of dengue viruses or two other, related viruses � West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis viruses. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dengue Branch is in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A URL with more information is http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/dengue/dengue-hcp.htm. Dean O. Cliver
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Microbiology.