5 Aug 2015

Hopes for rapid dengue fever testing in American Samoa

2:11 pm on 5 August 2015

Photo: 123rf

The United States Centres for Disease Control is hoping to introduce rapid testing for dengue fever to health centres in American Samoa.

The territory is currently in the grip of an outbreak of the mosquito-borne illness, and the only way the territory's health department can test patients is by sending blood samples to Hawaii once a week.

The head of the CDC team sent to American Samoa to assist with the outbreak, Dr Tyler Sharp, says the time from taking the sample to having a result can vary from a few days to more than a week.

He says that not every person suspected of having dengue needs to be tested, but the centre is obtaining a limited supply of rapid testing kits.

"I know that everyone wants to have the test available, everybody wants to get tested, but it's really only the cases or the patients that have symptoms that are very consistent with dengue and maybe are a little bit more clinically severe that we're reserving the test for."