A research by city doctors on blood protein could lead to development of a blood test to diagnose patients suffering from both dengue and chikungunya.
Dengue and chikungunya are transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquito and symptoms of dengue patients co-infected with chikungunya are severe compared to those suffering from dengue. The study found proteins and carbohydrates present in blood are affected differently in case of solo and co-infections [suffering from both dengue and chikungunya].
Researchers said overlapping symptoms of dengue and chikungunya often result in misdiagnosis of patients suffering from co-infections and affects the course of treatment, said authors of the study. The research was published in scientific journal Nature on November 15.
“We have identified a cluster of metabolites in the blood, whose levels are perturbed in dengue and chikungunya co-infections and monoinfections,” said the author of the study, Dr Sujatha Sunil, vector biology specialist, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Delhi. Blood samples of 15 chikungunya, 11 dengue and 12 co-infected patients -- all from Mumbai – were used in the study.
An earlier study of 300 patients from Mumbai by the same research group had found almost 10% of suspected dengue cases are co-infected with chikungunya virus. “We found the symptoms of dengue patients co-infected with chikungunya virus were severe compared to patients who had just dengue. These patients had increased joint pains and deformities,” said Dr Jayanti Shastri, head of microbiology department, BYL Nair Hospital, who was a co-author in both the papers. “If we know a dengue patient is co-infected with chikungunya, naturally the course of patient management would be different,” she said.
Dr Om Srivastava, a city-based infectious disease specialist said clinicians can comment on the study once it is undertaken for a larger group.