When should rapid test for dengue fever?

Doctors believe that rapid testing for Dengue NS1 antigen should be performed in the early days when the patient has symptoms of fever.

According to Doctor Nguyen Minh Tien, deputy director of the City Children’s Hospital (HCMC), medical facilities often use antigen rapid tests to identify dengue patients. Similar to the Covid-19 rapid test, this test usually has results in 15-20 minutes. The difference, however, is the sampling location.

Specifically, the Covid rapid test is to swab the nose and throat to find antigens, and the rapid test for dengue fever will take blood from the patient. Therefore, this test is done in a medical facility. After the sample is collected and processed, the medical staff drops the sample on the test tray, waiting for the color lines to appear. If only one line C is negative. If there are two lines C and T, it is positive, it means dengue fever.

“It is difficult for family members to do it themselves because of many stages, taking the wrong blood sample will give the wrong result, not to mention when the parents stab the child with a needle, the child can struggle a lot and then have a dangerous infection,” the doctor said.

Rapid antigen testing is allowed when the patient has a fever from day 1 to day 7. However, the first days are easier to be accurate, from day 5 onwards the positive rate is usually very low. Results can still be obtained on the first day because usually when there is a fever, there is a phenomenon of virus moving in the blood, easy to detect by the test.

Treatment of dengue fever patients at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City. Image: Quynh Tran

According to Dr. Tien, this type of test still has the possibility of false negative, ie positive but negative results, especially people infected with D2 strain virus in the early days. Therefore, the cases with symptoms but negative results, doctors still do not rule out, explain to family members that this test may be false negative, must closely monitor the patient’s signs, especially on day 4. -5.

According to Dr. Nguyen Dong Bao Chau, Children’s Hospital 1 (HCMC), the initial symptoms of dengue fever are quite similar to some other viral infections such as influenza. In particular, the onset of dengue fever is sometimes similar to the Covid-19 disease, so it is easy to miss. The concern of many parents about taking their children to the hospital leads to the risk that their children will get severe dengue fever, causing many complications, even life-threatening.

Dengue fever has a diverse progression, which can range from mild to severe. Most patients are able to recover on their own. However, when the patient progresses seriously, if not monitored and treated promptly, it will lead to death.

If the disease is diagnosed early and treated promptly, most of the disease progresses smoothly, with few deaths. The early detection of dengue fever helps doctors monitor the disease process day by day and take appropriate treatment measures.

The number of dengue fever cases in Ho Chi Minh City is lower than before, but the number of severe cases is still high. Some people are not aware of the serious signs to bring the patient to the hospital in time. Therefore, when fever needs to think of dengue fever.

“When there are severe signs, you must go to the hospital immediately, even at night because waiting until morning can be difficult to cure,” the doctor recommended.

Specifically, it should be noted when the child has a high fever for more than two days, shows one of the signs such as fussiness, irritability, irritability or lethargy; stomachache; nosebleeds, bloody teeth or vomiting blood, black stools; cold hands and feet, lying in one place not playing, giving up sucking, stopping eating.

In particular, it is necessary to be careful when the patient has signs of continuous high fever, from 38 to 40 degrees Celsius, taking antipyretic drugs to reduce but then the fever returns. On the 3rd to 6th day of illness, if the fever is gone but one of the signs of worsening, you need to be hospitalized immediately, because this is the most dangerous stage of dengue fever, so don’t be subjective. In case of delay, the patient can be in deep shock, difficult to treat, at risk of many serious complications such as respiratory failure, blood clotting disorder, liver damage, multi-organ failure…, even death.

According to the Ministry of Health, from the beginning of the year to September 24, Vietnam recorded more than 211,000 cases of dengue fever, including 87 deaths. Compared to the same period in 2021, the number of cases increased by 4.3 times, the number of deaths increased by 68 cases. Dengue fever in children is showing signs of outbreak, rapid increase and complicated development with many severe cases. The epidemic is spreading to the North with the number of new cases increasing and there are deaths.

Experts say this year’s dengue epidemic is quite stressful, and it is expected that the number of cases will be the highest in the past 25 years.

Le Phuong


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