Dengue IgM Testing: Understanding the Process

Whenever someone suffers from the symptoms of Dengue, they need proper testing and diagnosis before treatment. Timely checks and diagnosis of Dengue fever can help with proper treatment. There are many tests for Dengue, but the Dengue IgM test is a basic test for the disease. The symptoms of Dengue fever can also look and feel like that of malaria and other parasitic infections. Since the symptoms can be confusing, the use of the Dengue IgM test is very important. The diagnosis of infection from Dengue is not possible without the Dengue IgM test.

What is the Dengue IgM test?

The Dengue IgM test is a serological test that checks for neutralizing antibodies that develop towards the end of the Dengue cycle. The Dengue IgM test detects the antibodies within the first week of illness. IgM levels can fluctuate and can give a positive result on the Dengue IgM test after 4 to 5 days of the symptoms first showing. If you have Dengue fever symptoms or have recently traveled to the tropics, you should get a Dengue IgM test done. The test has many procedures and advanced techniques. Laboratories can even perform ELISA on the blood sample of the patient to check for IgM antibodies.

What are the symptoms of Dengue?

Ranging from mild to severe, there are several symptoms of Dengue. If you notice these symptoms in your body, then there is a need for you to take the Dengue IgM test. The IgM test checks for the serum level of these antibodies after symptoms surface. It is interesting to learn that Dengue can be asymptomatic for a long time. Once an epidemiologist or a general physician notes the symptoms, they will suggest a Dengue IgM test.

  • Mild symptoms– The mild symptoms of Dengue fever include fever, pain, and aches in different parts of the body. Aches in limbs and eyes can be a common sign of Dengue infection. 
  • Major symptoms– Apart from aches and pains, the symptoms of Dengue also include vomiting and nausea. Nausea and vomits might be misinterpreted as food poisoning, but Dengue can be a probable cause too.
  • Severe symptoms– The late stage of Dengue can affect your immunity and platelet levels. The antigens of Dengue can affect the brain. Severe symptoms of Dengue can also manifest as belly pain and tenderness in the tummy. If you see constant tummy aches and vomits, then it can be a severe sign of Dengue. Bleeding from the nose and mouth, as well as blood in the stool, are also severe symptoms of Dengue. If you see these signs, go to the nearest laboratory and ask for a Dengue IgM test.

In the case of a usual Dengue infection, the symptoms usually last from two days to a week. If you notice symptoms or suspect you might have Dengue, then you should go to a doctor. The infection can be because of a malarial parasite instead of Dengue. In both cases, tests are necessary. The Dengue IgM test can be done to rule out a case of Dengue. When you go to a doctor with a probable case of Dengue, also share your travel history with the doctor so that he can detect the condition properly.

Results Interpretation

If the Dengue IgM test comes out negative, the doctor rules out the possibility of Dengue but suggests other tests for parasitic infections. In case of a positive result, the doctor will see if the infection is moderate or has advanced. If the situation is bad, the doctor will suggest high doses of medicines and other treatments. In some extreme cases where major parts of the body are affected, the doctor will suggest medical intervention and admit the patient into a hospital for treatment. The Dengue IgM test is the first step to the detection of Dengue. The proper diagnosis and treatment of Dengue in time are important. The delay in diagnosis and treatment can be fatal. 


The Dengue IgM test is one of the serological tests done to detect cases of Dengue infection. Apart from the IgM antibodies, the IgG antibodies also need testing. The Dengue IgM test happens on the blood sample of the patient. The doctor will also take a complete blood count to know the state of your blood and immunity levels. High immunity levels and the percentage of immunological cells are important for the cure. The platelet count can also go down drastically due to Dengue. The doctor may suggest medicines and a diet to increase the platelet and WBC count of the body. The Plaque Reduction Neutralization Test or PRNT also accompanies the IgM test in most cases for confirmation.


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