New test for diagnosing dengue fever developed

Researchers recently found a better, more accurate test for detecting dengue fever, which is becoming more widespread as infected mosquitoes are migrating around the world.

Tiger mosquitoes carry dengue fever. This species has its natural habitat in Asia and Africa, but now the mosquitoes are traveling throughout the Mediterranean. Approximately 20,000 people die from dengue each year. The majority of these occur in Asia and Africa, as the hot weather is more conducive to the mosquitoes and disease. As more and more people become infected with the illness, it is becoming an increasingly important health challenge that needs to be solved.

With dengue spreading as far north as Croatia and France, determining whether a person has dengue, yellow fever, TBEV or West Nile virus is a challenge.

Until this discovery, there has not been a guaranteed antibody test to diagnose dengue fever. The new test is cost-efficient and fail-safe. Previously, health care workers had to use expensive methods of testing blood samples for dengue.

"We've succeeded in developing the first ever antibody test for dengue infections that is capable of distinguishing between dengue and other flaviviruses," Sebastian Ulbert, head of the Working Group on Vaccine Technologies at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI, said. "Since our test is also based on detecting antibodies, it's just as cheap and easy to run as its conventional counterparts."

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