50 years ago, most people would have drawn a blank if asked about dengue. Now, infectious diseases like dengue are endemic in more than 100 countries, causing more than 20,000 deaths, mostly among children, per year. At first, it might seem like the flu, but then the fever rises, accompanied by headaches, joint pain, nausea and rashes. In its most severe forms, dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, it can even cause internal and external bleeding or death.
As dengue is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito, if precautions are not taken, the virus can be spread to other family members or even the whole village. Considering the fact that vaccines or antiviral drugs are not available for dengue viruses, early detection plays a paramount role in the treatment and prevention of it. In reality, access to results generally requires a well-equipped laboratory and at least a few days’ waiting time – not to mention that, due to expensive diagnostics, patients may not even visit a doctor, resulting in underdiagnosis and the spread of the disease.