A test using only about three drops of blood will determine in just half an hour or less if you have dengue. The benefit of the dengue diagnostic kit is the rapid and reliable results obtained
The Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital has partnered with clinics in Singapore to roll out this test kit since 2012, as part of a move to establish a primary care network to fight infectious diseases.
The test kit, called SD Dengue Duo, can be easily used by doctors or nurses in the clinic. They just need a pinprick of blood from patients, who will be given the result in 20 to 30 minutes.
A study led by the CDC in 2012 shows fewer than half of doctors routinely order diagnostic tests when they suspect someone has dengue. Those who do typically send blood samples to laboratories for tests which can take about a day.
But Dengue Duo takes just a fraction of this time and is "very comparable" in accuracy, said Professor Leo, adding that the CDC does not have a stake in the company.
The CDC tested the kit on 246 adults from October 2011 to May 2012. It found the kit had a sensitivity of 94 per cent and specificity of 92 per cent.
The former measures a test's ability to correctly identify a diseased person, while the latter measures its ability to correctly identify a disease-free person.
The downside of clinical diagnosis is that early dengue symptoms such as fever and muscle aches can be hard to distinguish from other causes, said Prof Leo. Doctors can be more confident the patient has dengue only from the fourth day, when other signs appear.
Prof Leo is aiming to form a network of GPs around the island to partner the CDC in its research and fight against diseases. "We are getting ourselves ready not only for dengue but perhaps in the future for other infectious diseases as well."
She also wants to spread the message of early diagnosis as "we are beginning to see treatment interventions becoming available".
Studies are also being done on antibodies for the two most prevalent types of dengue here.
Adapted from source: The Straits Times - (22 November 2012)
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