Herpes Simplex Virus and Varicella Zoster Virus PCR

Qualitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the detection of Herpes Simplex (type 1 and type 2) Virus DNA and/or Varicella Zoster Virus DNA. Used to detect primary or recurrent HSV or VZV infection in a wide range of samples including lesion swabs, CSF, eye swab, vitreal biopsy, oral swab, bronchoalveolar lavage, EDTA blood, biopsy or autopsy tissue. This assay is available routinely Mon to Fri.
Clinical details: 
- orolabial lesion, cold sore
- genital herpes
- keratitis, retinitis
- meningitis, encephalitis
- vasculitis, stroke
- Mollarets syndrome
- pneumonitis
- purpura fulminans
- bacterial superinfection
- fulminant herpes hepatitis
- neonatal herpes
- disseminated herpes
- disseminated zoster
- Ramsay-Hunt syndrome
- herpetic whitlow
- eczema herpeticum
Reference range: 

Not applicable

Synonyms or keywords: 
HSV, VZV, HZV, Herpes Simplex, Varicella Zoster, Chickenpox, Shingles, zoster, blister, vesicle, vesicular rash, pneumonitis, meningitis, encephalitis, stroke. fulminant, neonatal.
Qualitative Test - Detected/Not Detected
Sample type and Volume required: 
4-9ml Purple Top EDTA blood (for whole blood or plasma). Eye swab, lesion swab, throat swab, oral swabs: in standard viral swab in Universal Transport Medium (UTM). Biopsy, BAL, NPA, vitreous specimen: in sterile universal container with no added fluids or transport medium
Turnaround time: 
3 working days
Storage and transport: 
Place labelled sample in a sealed sample bag and send to Central Specimen Reception (CSR). Samples should be sent to CSR promptly as the sensitivity of assays that detect RNA/DNA depend on sample quality/integrity. Please store samples in a refrigerator if there is a delay in sending samples to CSR.
Infection Sciences Department at St Thomas' Hospital
020 7188 8008
St Thomas' Hospital
North Wing - 5th Floor
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7EH
Core opening hours: Monday-Friday 0900-1730

For clinical advice or interpretation of results, please contact the laboratory in the first instance.

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Last updated: 07/06/2021