September 7, 2021

Post COVID Surveillance of Vector-Borne Diseases and Diagnostic Management

The epidemiology, surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment of vector-borne diseases are critical in India. National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) is the apex government body. It handles the annual programs and implements strategies. In addition, many global initiatives are also creating public awareness for improving lifestyle, hygiene, and living conditions.

The COVID pandemic has not only delayed the diagnosis but also made individuals immuno-compromised due to the infection. Later infection by vectors has resulted in increased morbidity and mortality. Currently, the surveillance and mapping of vector-borne diseases have gone for a toss. The current scenario is to locate the hotspots of outbreaks of seasonal diseases and ensure primary screening for the infection. Rapid and affordable diagnosis is the only way for early and specific treatment to patients.

WHO guidelines say the ideal test for Dengue is to check for NS1 and IgM, which is the early phase of the infection. The preference to test is in the febrile phase (5 days from onset of illness). In case of an outbreak, testing for IgM is primary either on rapid cards or in ELISA. In the case of Chikungunya, testing of NS1 precedes any other marker in the early phase of infection. IgM persists in the system for years; hence the testing is at a later stage. The testing is ideal for tracking and surveying the progression of infection and the development of immunity. While travelers are generally at high risk of disease, the household mass can always follow prevention from infection. Major prevention methods include preventing mosquito bites during daytime, thermal fogging, applying repellents based on Picaridin, disposal of stagnant water, and use of mosquito nets.

J Mitra & Co. has been a pioneer in rapid and reliable diagnostic solutions for the last five decades. It’s the first Indian company to introduce Rapid Test Cards for vector-borne diseases. J Mitra uses unique proteins and markers specific to the Indian population. Rapid cards of Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya, and Leptospira perform routine and affordable testing. Malaria Antigen test kits have come to use with the ban on Antibody kits. All these products now have a leadership position in the market. ELISA kits for Dengue and Chikungunya have been the trendsetter for the market. Their performance has challenged the higher platforms even for transient infections. Besides, the company has introduced FIA testing for vector-borne diseases. In addition, it has developed (in collaboration with IIT, Madras) Quanti Dengue Cards (for NS1, IgG, and IgM). These kits are at par with PCR tests.

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