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Can a positive dengue test (NS1 test) be a false-positive, and is actually indication for Covid-19 positive?

Answered by: Dr Nur Syuhada binti Zulkifli

Last Updated: April 14, 2020 1:12 PM
Anonymous 17 months

A friend of mine has been having on and off fever for 4 days, with body aches and headaches. He went to a KK and was tested for dengue and the result came out to be positive. The doctor diagnosed him as having Dengue Fever. However, he has now developed coughs with no phlegm, but no breathing difficulty. If I’m not mistaken, dengue fever doesn’t usually comes with coughing. I’ve read an article regarding Covid-19, saying that observations done in Singapore has shown that there’s a possibility for false-positive results for dengue due to their similarities.
My question is, should my friend go have himself tested for Covid-19? (He has no recent travelling history and no known close contact with positive covid-19 individuals, but I’m concerned due to the increase in sporadic cases). Thank you.

Dr Nur Syuhada binti Zulkifli 17 months
General Practitioner

Thank you for your questions.

We understand your worry since we’re now in the midst of coronavirus outbreak.

I am aware of the report done by Singapore about 2 cases that show false positive NS-1 test. But, we can’t conclude just from 2 case. From the situation given above, I’m sure that the medical healthcare would treat him as dengue and monitor his progression first. If they notice that the picture of his symptoms is not a typical dengue, they would probably be more vigilant and do further test as appropriate.

Thus, to answer your question should your friend do COVID-19 test, usually the public hospital would only do it in highr risk patient that fulfill their criteria. To assess your risk, you are encouraged to answer the quiz on Risk Assessment for COVID-19 to evaluate your health status in regards to this disease. After completing this quiz, you will be classified into several categories.

However, he might also opt for private test through this link COVID-19 Screening At Home.

For now, just monitor his symptoms first and follow the management plan for his dengue. The following answers regarding your current queries are just general descriptions due to You may also click on this link (DoctorOnCall) to speak with our doctors online. We assure you that our conversations are kept in confidentiality unless additional consultation needed with other medical parties.

You may consult a MOH doctor by clicking Ask Doctor at the Ministry of Health website (COVID-19 Portal) to ask any health issues related to COVID-19 starting from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm.

After 5.00 pm till 12.00 am, please direct your enquiries to our DoctorOnCall website at this link DoctorOnCall Tanya.

I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you to stay put at home as ordered by the authorities. With everyone’s cooperation, I hope we can conquer this outbreak before it get any worse. Thank you.


Last Updated: Tue Apr 14 2020 13:12:36 GMT+0800 (Malaysia Time)
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