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Various deceases and viruses has become a widespread issue in other nations and also in our country today. It has been categorized unto its levels of effect to the health of the people and the cause of how it is being acquired. Some can be cured through immediate medication and random set of test’s, but some doesn’t have remedies but can be prevented, this is because to its undefined symptoms and effect to the body of a certain person. One of the alarming viruses that has been unto several cases here in the Philippines is the Dengue.
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The Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes mosquito. This can be cause by any one of four closely related dengue viruses. The mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person with dengue virus in their blood. It can’t be spread directly from one person to another person. Symptoms appear in 3–14 days average 4–7 days after the infected bite. Some of this symptoms may include:
Dengue fever is like a normal flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults.There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. Severe dengue is a potentially fatal complication, but early clinical diagnosis and careful clinical management by experienced physicians and nurses often save lives. This has been also the cause of the rapid number of children being hospitalized every year.
The Philippine’s exposure to dengue cases has become an alarming situation in the country. According to the National Epidemiology Center of the Philippines’ the Department of Health reports a total of 59,943 dengue cases from January 1 to September 6,2014. This is 59.57% lower compared to last year (148,279). Of the total cases, 10.47% came from Northern Mindanao Region X, 9.6% from CARAGA Region XIII, 9.19% from Davao Region Region 11.from Region IV-A and , Region III, which are 8.93% and 8.01% respectively, to the overall figure.
As an immediate response to the rapid spread of the Dengue virus into the body and to assure the case of the infected person , a product of study was made by the Research and Biotechnology Division of the St. Luke’s Medical Center with the help of the Department of Science and Technology DOST, they developed a “point-of-care” test for dengue meant to be simple enough to be done even by people without medical training.
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The pregnancy type test kit for dengue is like a pregnancy test kit, but it is just only for dengue. Just place a few drops of blood into a plastic wand, and you can see if you’re positive after 15 minutes. Like in the ordinary off-the-shelf pregnancy test, a strip of specially-treated materials soaks up the fluid and changes color in the presence of specific chemicals.
According to Dr. Mark Pierre Dimamay one of the members of the research team, the problem with dengue is that its most common symptom fever is usually shrugged off by sufferers, delaying medical attention. It’s only when the fever persists for three or four days that people decide to consult a doctor. But by then, the dengue will already have progressed so time is of the essence.Dengue should not be a fatal disease, it only becomes deadly when treated too late or not treated at all.
While it is too early for them to tell how much this device might cost, the research team is hoping that it is around the cost of a pregnancy test since they are similar in format.
A prototype of the product has already been produced, with field testing scheduled for next year.
How it works
The dengue test prototype is designed to detect dengue even in its earliest stages, well before the breakout of any tell-tale fever.
The test involves two strips: one that detects the dengue virus itself in the earlier stages of contamination, and another that reacts to the antibodies produced after virus numbers have subsided.
This is because, once the dengue virus enters a person, it multiplies until it reaches a peak level; this is when the symptoms, like fever, start to manifest. But after the fourth day of contamination, virus numbers drop as the body counterattacks by producing antibodies which determines the number of weeks being infected.
So the test works by detecting both the virus and the antibodies produced in its wake.
Other existing methods
A similar device called the Rapid Dengue Test is already available in the market. Unlike the point-of-care prototype of the St. Luke’s team, it only detects the antibodies against dengue, which appear in the blood four to five days after the onset of fever.
Yet another device called the Dengue NS1 Ag Strip is being used by some hospitals to test early dengue infection. However, it still won’t fit the ideal point-of-care test, because its end-users are still healthcare professionals: The patients cannot perform this test by themselves.Methods for diagnosing dengue like the Nucleic Acid Amplification, serological methods, and virus isolations require technical expertise and a lot of time, which don’t make them ideal point-of-care screening tools for general feversThese methods need a laboratory and specialized equipment, plus the technical expertise of the people performing the tests. These methods would also take at least half a day to finish, according to Dr. Dimamay.
As the rapid number of people being hospitalized every year due to dengue, the innovation like the pregnancy type test kit for dengue can be an immediate tool in determining the direct case of the symptoms being undergone by the person. This could also determine the antibodies as to how long the body has been infected by the virus. And such, person suffering with such symptoms could immediately know his/her case and that it could be treated as soon as possible by the medical experts, so that the virus could be detected and can somehow be prevented in spreading. This is also a way in preventing sudden deaths of people due to dengue, because in just a number of minutes you could already determine if your positive of dengue or not. Because, in cases like dengue “Early prevention is a must”.
By: Sarah Mae Arante
References & Sources
Pictures from Google.com