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Malaria, dengue fever, leishmania rapid detection devices to be fielded

June 11, 2012

By Carey Phillips, USAMMDA public affairs

FORT DETRICK, Md. (June 11, 2012) -- The leishmania assay, the third of a trio of arthropod vector rapid detection devices developed by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, received its individual national stock number Jun. 4, after a recommendation submitted by the Armed Forces Pest Management Board.

These arthropod vector rapid detection devices, or AV-RDDs, sometimes called 'dipstick' assays, detect pathogens in mosquitoes and sand flies that cause malaria, dengue and leishmaniasis. The national stock number, or NSN, assignment to the latest dipstick assay to detect Leishmania in sand flies marked the availability of the three dipstick assays for purchase by preventive medicine personnel and units as needed.

"The Leishmania, malaria and dengue dipstick assays will become part of entomological medical equipment sets," said Maj. Vanessa Melanson, chief of the Diagnostics and Laboratory Services Department in the Entomology Branch at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. "These kits will enhance and improve the ability of preventive medicine personnel to assess the risk of arthropod-borne diseases in a given area of operations."

Mosquitoes and sand flies collected using standard surveillance techniques (e.g., the CDC miniature light trap) can be tested for the presence of pathogens by simply grinding them with the tools provided in the dipstick assay kit and then using the dipstick for detection. The kits require little to no additional equipment to perform the test and results are available in as little as 15 minutes.

"Real-time results allow preventive medicine personnel to more accurately determine where arthropods are infected with disease-causing pathogens in an area of operations. This enables them to make better decisions regarding implementation of control measures and to provide recommendations to decision makers regarding the use of personal protective measures," said Melanson.

Also available are the Rift Valley fever, West Nile, and St. Louis encephalitis virus dipstick assays, but they will not be included in the medical equipment sets.

The development and fielding of the dipstick assays was a collaborative effort between USAMRMC, WRAIR, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, U.S. Army Medical Research Unit -- Kenya, and the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity with industry partner VecTOR Test Systems, Inc.

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