How is a serum study performed in the diagnosis of dengue?

Updated: May 03, 2019
  • Author: Darvin Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Draw serum specimens for diagnosis as soon as possible after the onset of illness or hospitalization and at the time of death or discharge from the hospital. Immediately place specimens on wet ice and send to the laboratory. Obtain a second (ie, convalescent) blood sample for convalescent-phase serologic testing 7-21 days after the acute-phase serum specimen was drawn. Ideally, draw the convalescent-phase serum specimen 10 days after the acute-phase specimen.

A European study found that if only a single serum sample is available, a single positive result on enzyme-linked ELISA (PanBio IgM or IgG) has a high rate of false positivity and should be confirmed using a second, more specific diagnostic technique. In the absence of further testing, platelet and white blood cell counts can be diagnostically helpful, because the combination of thrombocytopenia and leukopenia is present in 40.4% of confirmed cases but in only 6.1% of false-positive cases. [71, 72]


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