An hour late may already be too late; dengue test kit helps

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - It looks like a home pregnancy test kit, works like one, and in fact, also uses a test strip to indicate the answer to one's anxiety.

But unlike the smile that a "positive" result from a pregnancy test can bring, a "positive" from this test kit sounds alarm bells.

And warned and alert is what we should all be because of the alarming rise of dengue cases in the Philippines. It was for this reason that the Dengue NS1 Antigen detection kit was developed in 2006 to quickly help determine the presence of dengue in its early stages.

Sadly, this is one device that a lot of hospitals take for granted. Had he known of it, singer Bryan Termulo would have bought the device for his 24-year-old brother Bren who died last December from complications of dengue, only a day after complaining of a slight fever.

"I learned that dengue is rarely fatal-only about a 1 percent death rate-but what hurt most was that my brother was included in that very small group. My family learned the hard way that one cannot just dismiss a fever, especially these days when dengue infection is rampant," said Termulo.

Small price to pay

The 21-year-old Termulo has resolved to be the face behind a campaign to convince Filipino families to immediately avail of the Dengue NS1 Antigen detection kit when a household member develops a fever. The kit only needs 15 minutes to accurately determine if a patient has dengue.

"Yes, the single-use kit costs 1,000 pesos or even 2,000 pesos in some hospitals but that is a small price to pay if one wants to avoid losing a family member to a disease that is very treatable if detected early," explained Termulo, a World Championships of Performing Arts silver and bronze medalist and "Pinoy Pop Superstar" finalist.

The Dengue NS1 Antigen detection kit-also called the rapid test kit-requires only a qualified medical technician to take a blood sample from the patient. The kit includes an NS1 strip, which works like the ones used on pregnancy tests: Two strips mean the blood is positive for dengue, and one strip that it's negative.

"Early detection is the key. The hospital had no idea that my brother already had dengue and treated him for tonsillitis. It was only several hours later after my brother had contracted septicemia (the presence of disease-causing microorganisms in the bloodstream) that the hospital was able to explain the reason behind his fever-like symptoms. By then it was already too late," Termulo said.

Early diagnosis critical

There is no specific treatment for dengue and the vaccine to prevent it will be available only in 2014, but Lyndon Lee Suy, program manager of the Department of Health's Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases section, believes that early diagnosis is critical to fighting the disease.

"If positive for dengue, the fever could be treated by anti-pyretics like paracetamol, while pain in the bone may be treated with analgesics or pain-killing tablets. Dehydration is also a concern so patients are usually advised to drink plenty of fluids," explained Lee Suy.

If the dengue fever develops into its more serious forms of dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, hospitalization is a must as more supportive treatment like intravenous fluid replacement is required to prevent shock-a state in which not enough blood and oxygen reach important organs like the brain and kidneys.

"Don't wait for the platelet count to go down. It's better to overreact to a simple fever so that you can deal with dengue while in its early stage. An hour late may be already dangerous when it comes to dengue," Termulo warned.

Common test not sufficient

According to Rex Tiri, president of Lifeline Diagnostics Supplies Inc., which distributes the dengue test kit, the more common test employed by hospitals is based on the detection of specific dengue virus antibodies.

But this kind of test relies on antibodies that are only produced by the patient several days after the first clinical signs appear-four to six days for a primary infection-which is not sufficient for early screening, he said.

Other hospitals use similar but cheaper rapid tests but they are not as sensitive as the Dengue NS1 Antigen detection kit that has been shown to be 97.3-percent effective (against 68.9 percent and 88.7 percent of other kinds of tests).

The Dengue NS1 Antigen detection kit also provides 100-percent specificity as it can detect all the four strains of the dengue virus as well as avoid confusing dengue with other diseases belonging to the same taxonomic group or family (Flaviviridae) like the one that causes yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis or West Nile encephalitis.

According to Lifeline product specialist Joey Flores, all anyone would need to be able to buy the rapid test kit is to ask a doctor to write a prescription for it.

And then 15 minutes is all it takes for a qualified medical technician to administer the test.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino
    Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino

    Philippine military and commercial aircraft will keep flying over disputed areas in the South China Sea despite Chinese warnings over the airspace, President Benigno Aquino said on Monday. "We will still fly the routes that we fly based on the international law from the various conventions we entered into," Aquino told reporters when asked whether the Philippines accepted China's position. The Chinese military last week ordered a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane away from airspace …

  • Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community
    Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community

    A “Dadbod” is a newly coined term now trending in media. It was introduced to the world by Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson as she refers to any man—father or bachelor—with a physique that’s a “nice balance between a beer gut and working out.” “It’s more human, natural, and attractive,” she adds. For this writer, […] The post Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • Aquino: Philippines to fly usual routes over disputed reefs

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine aircraft will continue to fly their usual routes over disputed reefs in the South China Sea, the country's president said Monday, defying China's challenges to its planes and those of the United States. …

  • A weekend of premium cars
    A weekend of premium cars

    Good news to all luxury car fanatics as PGA Cars, the exclusive importer and distributor of Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley cars in the country, will be holding the PGA Cars Premium Festival from May 29 to May 31 at the PGA Center in Global City in Taguig. The 3-day event will showcase PGA’s latest […] The post A weekend of premium cars appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda
    APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda

    Trade ministers at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Boracay, Aklan agreed yesterday to endorse the proposed Boracay Action Agenda to the member countries’ leaders, presenting opportunities for global trade for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In a press conference following the conclusion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, who also served as chairman, said ministers agreed to recommend the adoption of the …

  • Talks with China over sea row urged
    Talks with China over sea row urged

    The Philippines should engage China in bilateral talks in its efforts to maintain peace and order at the disputed West Philippine Sea, Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday. Escudero supports the government’s move to bring the issue before international arbitration but also stressed the need for the Philippines to pursue talks with China. Escudero made the statement after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. …

  • House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills
    House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills

    The House committee on national defense is deliberating on a measure mandating the regular conduct of disaster risk reduction drills in educational institutions nationwide. Authored by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., the bill mandates that risk reduction drills be held annually in all educational institutions throughout the country in coordination with the schools’ respective local government units. “The Philippines’ location along the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator …

  • PCSO running out of funds
    PCSO running out of funds

    Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman Ireneo Maliksi has admitted that the revenue-generating agency is running out of funds as it continues with its mandate to provide financial assistance to indigent Filipinos. Aside from providing financial help to individual recipients, Maliksi cited at least 13 laws that mandates the PCSO to provide mandatory contribution to different government agencies. Just last week, PCSO released P100 million to the Commission on Higher Education as …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options