Laboratory diagnosis of dengue infection : current techniques and future strategies
Dengue is an increasingly significant vector-borne infectious disease, with over 50 million cases reported in more than half the world’s recognised independent states. Dengue fever, dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome are distinct clinical forms of an infection that is caused by Dengue Virus, a member of the Flaviviridae family. All four well characterised serotypes of the virus can cause the full spectrum of disease from asymptomatic infection to life-threatening symptoms. For effective prevention and/or treatment of disease symptoms, early and rapid detection of virus in specimens collected from clinically suspected persons is a requirement that remains challenging. A positive laboratory diagnosis is essential to confirm dengue virus infection and hence to inform patient therapy. Here, we consider the pros and cons of currently available methods for identification, ranging from conventional to sophisticated tests. Reports indicate the use of a variety of diagnostic methods of varying sensitivity, highlighting the necessity for standardisation and quality control. Several novel approaches are in development and demand further evaluation.