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Herpes simplex virus (HSV) types 1 and 2 are members of the Herpesviridae family, and produce infections that may range from mild stomatitis to disseminated and fatal disease. Clinical conditions associated with HSV infection include gingivostomatitis, keratitis, encephalitis, vesicular skin eruptions, aseptic meningitis, neonatal herpes, genital tract infections, and disseminated primary infection.
Infections with HSV types 1 and 2 can differ significantly in their clinical manifestations and severity. HSV type 2 primarily causes urogenital infections and is found almost exclusively in adults. HSV type 1 is closely associated with orolabial infection, although genital infection with this virus can be common in certain populations.
The diagnosis of HSV infections is routinely made based on clinical findings and supported by laboratory testing using PCR or viral culture.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) causes various clinical syndromes. Anatomic sites infected include skin, lips and oral cavity, eyes, genital tract, and central nervous system.(1) Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes both varicella (chickenpox) and herpes zoster (shingles). VZV produces a generalized vesicular rash on the dermis (chickenpox) in normal children, usually before age 10. After primary infection with VZV, the virus persists in latent form and may emerge (usually in adults age 50 and older) clinically to cause a unilateral vesicular eruption, generally in a dermatomal distribution (shingles).
Rapid diagnosis of herpes simplex virus and varicella-zoster virus infections
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) PCR:
This is a qualitative assay; results are reported either as negative, positive or indeterminate for HSV type 1 or HSV type 2.
Detection of HSV DNA in clinical specimens supports the clinical diagnosis of infection due to the virus.
Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV) PCR:
Detection of VZV DNA in clinical specimens supports the clinical diagnosis of infection due to this virus.
VZV DNA is not detected in cerebrospinal fluid from patients without central nervous system disease caused by this virus.
This LightCycler PCR assay does not yield positive results with other herpesvirus gene targets (HSV, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus).
A negative result does not eliminate the possibility of herpes simplex virus (HSV) or varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection. Inhibitors of PCR may be present in some specimens.
The reference range is typically "negative" for this assay. This assay is only to be used for patients with a clinical history and symptoms consistent with VZV or HSV infection, and must be interpreted in the context of the clinical picture. This test is not used to screen asymptomatic patients.
Herpes Simplex Virus PCR
Varicella-Zoster Virus PCR
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