Challenges in the Laboratory Diagnosis and Management of Dengue Infections

Vivek G. Bhat1, *, Preeti Chavan2, Shashank Ojha3, Pravin K. Nair4
1 Department of Microbiology, ACTREC –Tata Memorial Center, Navi Mumbai- 410210;
2 Composite Laboratory, ACTREC –Tata Memorial Center, Navi Mumbai- 410210;
3 Department of Transfusion Medicine, ACTREC –Tata Memorial Center, Navi Mumbai- 410210;
4 Department of Microbiology, Holy Spirit Hospital, Andheri (E), Mumbai 400093, India

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© Bhat et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Microbiology, Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research & Education in Cancer (ACTREC), Tata Memorial Centre, Navi Mumbai – 410210, India; Tel: 0091 22 27405093; Fax: 0091 22 27405061; E-mail:


Dengue fever is considered the most important arthropod-borne viral diseases in terms of morbidity and mortality. An accurate and efficient diagnosis of dengue plays an important role in case confirmation. The virus may be isolated during the viremic phase (within day 5 of illness), from serum, plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Enzyme linked immunoassay (ELISA) has demonstrated the presence of high levels of dengue NS1 antigen and tests may be performed by enzyme-immunoassays (EIAs) or immune-chromatographic (ICT) methods. These assays are specific with respect to different flaviviruses. Conventional and real time RT PCR, nested PCR, multiplex PCR and Nucleic acid sequence based amplification (NASBA) have been described as sensitive and relatively rapid method of detecting the virus during the early viremic phase. Other tests used include assay of anti-dengue specific IgM and IgG ELISA. Currently no curative treatment in terms of anti-viral drugs is available for dengue and patients are managed with rest and aggressive supportive therapy. Management may be done at home or in the hospital depending on the severity of the illness. Hospital management includes fluid therapy, blood component transfusion and other modalities of treatments like steroids, recombinant factor VII and management of complications. Various vaccines are in trial stages and may become available in the near future.

Keywords: Arthropod-borne viral diseases, dengue, diagnosis, infection, management.