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Photo story on the establishment of molecular Dengue virus diagnostics in Sri Lanka

During the Dengue virus outbreak in Sri Lanka in 2017, around 186,000 cases were registered and more than 500 patients died; compared to the previous year this was an almost fourfold increase. Symptoms are flu-like at first and differentiation from other infectious diseases is difficult. Rapid diagnostic tests are used generally for Dengue fever diagnostics in Sri Lanka; but these are neither especially reliable nor can they differentiate between the four serotypes. However, this is critical: a previous Dengue virus infection confers immunity only against the same serotype. When those people are infected with another serotype there is an increased probability of a severe hemorrhagic course of the disease resulting in death. Therefore, the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine in Sri Lanka has asked the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) to assist in establishing a rapid molecular diagnostics for Dengue virus and other pathogens that are relevant for differential diagnostics.

In the framework of a Rapid Deployment Expert Group to Combat Health Threats (German: SEEG) mission, members of the RKI, the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ; German Society for International Cooperation) have trained colleagues from Sri Lanka in molecular diagnostics of pathogens for one week in February 2018. The mission was supported by members in the Global Health Protection Programme (GHPP).

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Source: Andreas Nitsche/RKI Arrival of the team of scientists at Colombo airport, the capital of Sri Lanka. The SEEG team is supported by members in the Global Health Protection Programme (GHPP) and consists in Therese Muzeniek, Beate Becker-Ziaja, Marica Grossegesse (RKI), Anna Heitmann (BNITM; from left to right), not in the picture are Nicole Hetzelt, Andreas Nitsche (both RKI) and Larissa Duddeck (GIZ). Part of their luggage is the complete equipment for a laboratory in molecular diagnostics. Source: Andreas Nitsche/RKI

Date: 24.08.2018