Infectious Diseases, Vibrational Spectroscopic Approaches to Rapid Diagnostics

  • Jeremy D. DriskellEmail author
  • Ralph A. Tripp


Infectious diseases are a major burden on human health with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting that infectious diseases are responsible for one in ten deaths in the world’s richest nations. The impact of infectious diseases is even greater in poorer regions of the world where six of every ten deaths are caused by a spectrum of infectious diseases that include bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. These infectious agents can further be described as classical pathogens, e.g., tuberculosis and malaria, seasonal epidemics, e.g., influenza and rhinoviruses, emerging infectious disease, e.g., highly pathogenic avian influenza and hemorrhagic fevers, or global pandemics such as the most recent outbreak of novel H1N1 influenza virus. Central to the management of each of these diseases are diagnostics. Early and rapid detection of an infectious agent is not only imperative to prevent the spread of disease, but it is also an essential first step to identify appropriate therapeutics that target the disease, as well as to overcome inappropriate administration of ineffective drugs that may drastically lead to drug-resistant pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This is just a succinct example which highlights the importance of diagnostic testing; however, the sections that follow discuss the current status of diagnostics and introduce an emerging approach to diagnostics based on vibrational spectroscopy which has tremendous potential to significantly advance the field.


Raman Spectroscopy Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay Rapid Diagnostic Test SERS Spectrum Vibrational Spectroscopy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



A term to describe the use of multivariate statistics used to extract chemical information.

Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)

A specific technique for acquiring IR absorption spectra in which all wavelengths are simultaneously measured.

Infrared spectroscopy

An absorption-based vibrational spectroscopic technique which primarily probes non-polar bonds.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)

An enzymatic method for amplifying a specific nucleic acid sequence.

Raman spectroscopy

A scattering vibrational spectroscopic technique which primarily probes polar bonds.

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)

A technique used to amplify Raman scattered signal via adsorption to a nanometer-scale metallic surface.

Vibrational (molecular) spectroscopy

A general term for the use of light to probe vibrations in a sample as a means of determining chemical composition and structure.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Health Research CenterUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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