Current approaches and prospects for the development of laboratory diagnosis of measles

Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 2023; 25(1):4-12



Measles virus causes an acute infectious disease with high contagiousness. It is possible to limit the spread of measles virus only with a sufficiently wide coverage of the population by vaccination. Despite the success of measles elimination programs, many countries have seen an increase in the incidence of measles in recent years, making early diagnosis increasingly important. The importance of laboratory diagnosis is related to the difficulties of clinical differential diagnosis of measles in the early stages of the disease. This review is devoted to an analysis of existing methods for diagnosing measles. It demonstrates the limitations of the most commonly used method, the enzyme immunoassay, and the need to develop and implement alternative diagnostic methods. Particular attention in the review is paid to molecular diagnostic methods, the sensitivity of which is reviewed for different types of biological sampled at different stages of the disease. Characteristics of the measles virus that are of key importance in the development of PCR tests are described. Studies evaluating the significance of introducing PCR in the routine diagnosis of measles are presented. The main advantages of molecular methods are the possibility of early detection of the virus and the possibility of simultaneous detection of several pathogens, which allows differential diagnosis of diseases with a similar clinical presentation. The development and implementation of rapid and accurate approaches based on molecular diagnostic methods into the health care system is an urgent need in the implementation of global and local programs for the elimination of measles.

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