BVI News

False-positive dengue results prove to be COVID-19 in some cases

National Epidemiologist, Harmony Brewley-Massiah.

With both the COVID-19 pandemic and dengue fever simultaneously impacting the territory, data now shows that rapid testing for dengue fever can lead to false-positive coronavirus results and vice versa.

This is according to the National Epidemiologist, Harmonie Brewley-Massiah during a recent online panel discussion.

She stated that due to both viruses having similar reactions to the human body internally and externally, the rapid testing has, in some cases, resulted in inaccurate readings.

“I need persons to be very mindful because even though you’re confirmed with dengue via our rapid test, it does not necessarily mean that you may have dengue. Dengue and COVID-19 cross-react, meaning that you can get a false positive for one of the tests,” she explained.

“So you might have the symptoms, you might have muscle pain, headaches, which are similar to COVID, and we test you for dengue and it comes back positive. However, because again the antibodies cross-react, it may give you a false positive on the dengue, but you may indeed be positive for COVID,” she explained.

Dengue patients less likely to contract COVID-19

Brewley-Massiah also referenced reports from other countries, which showed that persons who contracted dengue were less likely to contract COVID-19.

“The regions in Brazil that had a higher incidence of dengue the previous year; what they found is that there was a slower growth trajectory as well as a number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in those regions that had dengue, and we are also seeing that coming out from other studies,” she stated.

BVI test for both

Brewley-Massiah said the reports have resulted in the BVI testing persons for both the viruses using the rapid test.

However, she said the BVI Health Services Authority will be taking an additional precautionary measure as they intend to commence sending samples of dengue test to the Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad and Tobago for confirmation.

Noncommunicable diseases increase risk of dengue

The national epidemiologist further said persons living with noncommunicable diseases are more at risk at contracting dengue fever.

“If you are also immunocompromised or you have a preexisting condition like diabetes or hypertension, that also increases your risk of getting dengue. So really we’re seeing, again, how having these underlying chronic diseases increase your risk of having a severe form of another type of disease,” she stated.

The BVI’s latest known dengue fever statistics state that there are 69 confirmed cases of the virus in the territory and 36 suspected cases.

The BVI also presently has no reported active positive cases of COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

14 Comments

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  1. Schups says:

    Pure f***ing RUBBISH to keep people in fear! The flu season is here and kills millions annually. Dengue and other mosquito borne viruses have been severely affecting people for years, this is nothing new.

    Like 12
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    • Really says:

      So people who have had Dengue fever less likely to get Covid .Hmmmm. What exactly is the treatment for Dengue fever. Oh let me see. It’s hydoxichloroquine. Sorry if the spelling is not correct. And this was the medicine touted to keep away Covid. Not surprising that Trump was once again correct. The BVI is going wallow in their disease invested islands with no tourists, no income but on a D*****or

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  2. WTF says:

    This person is really educated? I have never read so much nonsense in one story, wow!

    Like 8
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    • Cant believethis says:

      This is total nonsense. Firstly there is absolutely NO DATA to suggest that antibodies for Dengue and SARSCoV2 cross react. In addition the the test routinely done for COVID19 is a SWAB for PCR and is not a blood test for ANTIBODIES !!!!

      Then the hogwash about dengue affecting the risk of persons getting Covid19. Wow. Realllly….. This person needs to read some rudimentary book like biostatistics for beginners or something. Go check up the difference between association, causation and confounding.

      And the craziest of them all….. Having a chronic disease does NOT increase your risk of getting Dengue. It does put you at risk for a severe form and reduces your ability to recover as well as someone who doesnt have a chronic disease. THE ONLY THING THAT PUTS TOU AT RISK FOR DENGUE is the likelihood of you being bitten by the mosquito !!!

      This article can be debunked by Google. This doesnt read well at all. I think they must have misquoted this person – no expert would make these statements.

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  3. Earl says:

    What is this person smoking ? Where are the references and scientific facts to back up these statements ?

    Like 7
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  4. BVIslander says:

    Not sure why above comments so harsh, I didn’t read anything that seemed alarming or incompetent

    Like 13
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  5. Sam Walton says:

    Where did you buy your tests. K MART on STT

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  6. Bull sh*t says:

    Wat there calling and testing for claiming it covid 19 is the dam cold and flu

    Like 4
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  7. What a ting says:

    Fire all the “professionals “ who misdiagnosed the people . This is outrageous and unacceptable. Let us hear what the Surgeon General, the Minister of Health and the Premier respond to such a public outcry of mistakes . Dengue is dengue and COVID is Covid .There is no excuse … one or two errors ok ..,, give us the number of mistakingly Dengue cases were labeled as Covid . Enough is enough . This is lives we are dealing with

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  8. Heckler says:

    Jah send help. You cannot be taking circumstantial information and preaching it as gospel and working people up. Where they find this one?

    Like 5
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  9. Rubber Duck says:

    Well obviously we should now test tourists for Dengue too. Let’s give them a compulsory injection or two as well, or better still a biopsy using those long needles, and an internal digital examination just for good luck. Only 90 at a time will be allowed though, only the lucky ones.

    Like 1
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  10. OMG says:

    WTH, What a CROCK! So why take a test if they don’t know if it is Covid or Dengue? Flip a coin to call which one you want it to be~

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