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Blood test for dengue: A crucial diagnostic tool.

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral infection that can cause a range of symptoms, from mild fever and headache to severe bleeding and shock. It is a major public health problem in many tropical and subtropical countries, with millions of cases reported each year.

A blood test is the most important diagnostic tool for dengue fever. There are two main types of blood tests used for dengue diagnosis:

  • Molecular tests: These tests detect the genetic material of the dengue virus in the blood. They can be performed within the first week after symptoms start and are most accurate during the first 3-4 days.

  • Serologic tests: These tests detect antibodies that the body produces in response to the dengue virus. They can be performed at any time during the illness, but they are most accurate after the first week.

Importance of CBC in dengue

A complete blood count (CBC) is a common blood test that measures the different types of blood cells in the body. It is important in the diagnosis and management of dengue fever because it can help to identify signs of infection and complications.

Some of the changes that can be seen on a CBC in dengue fever include:

  • Decreased white blood cell count: This is a sign that the body is fighting an infection.

  • Decreased platelet count: Platelets are blood cells that help to form blood clots. A low platelet count can increase the risk of bleeding.

  • Hemoconcentration: This refers to an increase in the concentration of red blood cells in the blood. It can be a sign of dehydration or blood loss.

Examples of blood tests for dengue

  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test: This is a molecular test that detects the genetic material of the dengue virus in the blood. It is the most accurate test for dengue diagnosis, but it is not widely available in all parts of the world.

  • NS1 antigen test: This test detects the NS1 antigen, which is a protein produced by the dengue virus. It is a rapid test that can be performed within a few hours. However, it is less accurate than the PCR test and can be negative during the early stages of infection.

  • Dengue IgM antibody test: This test detects IgM antibodies, which are the first type of antibodies that the body produces in response to the dengue virus. It is most accurate after the first week of illness.

  • Dengue IgG antibody test: This test detects IgG antibodies, which are produced later in the course of infection. It can be used to confirm a previous dengue infection.

Interesting facts about dengue fever

  • Dengue fever is caused by four different types of viruses, known as serotypes. A person can be infected with each serotype multiple times.

  • Dengue fever is most common in children under the age of 15.

  • Dengue fever is a major cause of hospitalization and death in children in tropical and subtropical countries.

  • There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. Treatment is supportive and includes measures to manage fever, pain, and dehydration.

  • A vaccine for dengue fever is available in some countries, but it is not yet widely available.


Blood tests are essential for the diagnosis and management of dengue fever. By understanding the different types of blood tests available and their importance, patients can better understand their condition and make informed decisions about their care.

About Author & Compiler

Sharad Mishra

Clinical Pharmacist, Lab Diagnostic Expert, Lab Franchise Consultant, Diet Psychologist, Believe in Simplicity & on a Mission to Improve Lives

Bsc, B Pharmacy, ICMS- Sydney- Competitive Edge in Management, Professional Diploma in Nutrition, Professional Diploma in Health & Fitness (EQF Level V), Diploma in Sports Nutrition, IIT Madras Certificate in Electrocardiogram- Interpretation & Application in Clinical Practice, IIT Kanpur Diploma in Introduction to Advanced Cognitive Processes, Certificate in ISO 15189-2022- Medical Laboratories Quality Assurance & Competence CPD Certified - Looks after Lab Franchisee Model of Ranbaxy lab

Author is having more than 19 years of experience in Lab Diagnostic, Operations, Lab Equipment OEM & Pharmaceutical Operations, Over the course of his corporate career, Sharad Mishra has written various articles on Lab test interpretation, Sales & Marketing, as well as on Drug Delivery module, apart from such articles and short notes, Sharad Mishra has also started its Youtube Channel (, which talks about various aspects right from Covid 19 pandemic to health & some interesting facts about mythology.

Sharad Mishra is also a licensed pharmacist with experience & interest in infectious disease, metabolic diseases i.e. diabetes, hypertension education & management. He has a passion for personalized patient care and believes that education is essential to living a healthy life. His goal is to motivate individuals to find ways to manage their chronic conditions & also started online learning programs to tackle & reverse metabolic issues i.e. SugarSolve, PcosSolve & FatSolve , these programs are designed to reverse diabetes, PCOS & weight issue without medicines on the principles of Human Physiology.

Work aside, Sharad Mishra is a photographer and lives his passion for nature photography.

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