Test for West Nile Virus

infected brain cells

Threats of the West Nile Virus infection has scaled down to a certain extent, but the medical authorities remains plagued by problems regarding this virus.

The West Nile Virus is an infectious disease that is spread by infected mosquitoes. The symptoms of this virus is mild, such as fever, headache, skin rashes, or swollen lymph glands. Unfortunately, having this virus enter the human brain can be deadly.

Detecting whether a particular person is infected with the West Nile Virus is ultimately based on that person’s clinical features, activities, places and dates of travel, as well as the epidemiologic history of the location where that person has traveled. Generally, laboratory diagnosis of the infection of the West Nile Virus can be done by testing of serum or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

Testing for the West Nile Virus infection is usually done in hospitals by the local health care providers. But due to the influx of the reported cases of West Nile Virus infection, diagnostic kits to for the West Nile Virus infection also arose.

Four of these kits became commercially available in the United States in an effort to aid the laboratory diagnosis of the patients with clinical symptoms of the West Nile Virus infection such as meningitis or encephalitis.

Of late, concerns about West Nile Virus diagnostic kits have been raised because of its increase in false-positive test results. False-positive results are test results that initially suggests that a person does have a West Nile Virus infection only to be proved wrong by a confirmatory test.

Confirmatory tests are conducted because diagnostic kits alone will not determine whether a person is indeed suffering from the West Nile Virus infection or not. Consequently, positive results yielded by commercially-available diagnostic kits should first be confirmed by additional testing at a state health department laboratory.

According to reports, concerns about the false-positive results with regards to the detection of the West Nile Virus infection is limited to a single diagnostic kit, which is the PanBio diagnostic kit, specifically those that were released during July and September of 2008.

The PanBio diagnostic kits, which caused a havoc for the suspected victims of the West Nile Virus infection, have already been recalled by the manufacturers. In spite of this, the medical authorities pledge to continue the monitoring and evaluation of tampered diagnostic kits.


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