Dengue is an increasingly common mosquito-borne, flaviviral disease of significant public health concern. The disease is endemic throughout tropical and subtropical regions, placing almost half of the world’s population at risk, and each year approaching 100 million people in around 130 countries are infected. There is acknowledged to be four antigenically distinct serotypes of the virus, and arguably a fifth, each of which elicits a full spectrum of clinical disease. This ranges from asymptomatic self-limiting infection to life-threatening severe manifestations characterized by plasma leakage, bleeding, and/or organ failure. Recovery from primary infection by one serotype provides life-long immunity against reinfection by that particular serotype, whereas with subsequent infections by other serotypes, the risk of developing severe dengue is increased. Rising mortality and morbidity rates caused by infection in recent years are attributable partly to a lack of availability of effective antiviral therapies and vaccines. In this context, early detection of infection with sensitive and specific laboratory tools and the prompt clinical management of this disease is a health care priority. Although a variety of techniques are currently used for laboratory diagnosis of dengue, no single methodology satisfies the ideal requirement for both sensitivity and specificity, while also being rapid and inexpensive. Newer detection tools that can fill this acknowledged gap in dengue diagnosis are urgently required.
Part of the book: Dengue