Dengue is a viral infection caused by four types of viruses belonging to the Flaviviridae family. The viruses are transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus female mosquitoes that feed both indoors and outdoors during the daytime (from dawn to dusk). These mosquitoes thrive in areas with standing water, including puddles, water tanks, containers, and old tires. Lack of reliable sanitation and regular garbage collection also contribute to the spread of the mosquitoes. The number of dengue fever cases in the Philippines has grown to nearly 36,000 in the first five months of 2017, so it is a very serious problem for the country.
Efficient and accurate diagnosis of dengue is of primary importance for clinical care (i.e. early detection of severe cases, case confirmation and differential diagnosis with other infectious diseases), surveillance activities, outbreak control, pathogenesis, academic research, vaccine development, and clinical trials.
Dengue virus can be detected in the blood (serum) from patients for approximately the first 5 days of symptoms. Currently, several PCR tests are employed to detect the viral genome in serum. In addition, the virus can be isolated and sequenced for additional characterization. Molecular genetic analysis has become a primary tool to detect the virus early in the course of illness. Current tests from PHIX Genomics are highly sensitive, and more than 95% specific.