Varicella-zoster virus PCR


VZV causes chicken pox, as a primary infection, which can be complicated by encephalitis and pneumonia. Latent infection occurs, permitting the reactivation of infection as herpes zoster (or shingles). As with primary infection, herpes zoster can be complicated by neuralgia, aseptic meningitis and encephalitis. VZV infection in pregnant women can result in congenital infection, particularly if maternal infection occurs in the late stages of pregnancy. Severe infection can also occur in the immunocompromised. This qualitative PCR assay is used for the detection of VZV in cases of primary or reactivated infection. A positive result can aid patient management in the administration of antiviral therapy in severe cases. This assay has important infection control applications, as a rapid positive result obtained for the index case permits prompt investigation of the immune status of contacts (followed by intervention where necessary for the prevention of disease), as well as the implementation of other infection control measures.

Also known as

VZV PCR, chicken pox PCR, shingles PCR, herpes zoster

Request a test

To request this test please send sample with a request providing patient ID (three identifiers), specimen information, assay required, relevant clinical details and sender information. Before sending sample please read details on requesting and labelling by clicking on the link. Please also refer to any additional information provided for this test.

Additional information

Not applicable

Sending address

Microbiology, Virology and Infection Control Level 4, Camelia Botnar Laboratories Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children Great Ormond Street London WC1N 3JH DX number: DX6640203 DX Exchange: Bloomsbury 91WC

Laboratory service

Microbiology, Virology and Infection Control

Sample requirements

Swab (in viral transport medium, available on request), vesicle fluid (in viral transport medium), EDTA whole blood or plasma (2ml in appropriate blood tube), serum (5ml in clotted blood tube), CSF (minimum 200ul), NPA, BAL, biopsy of any relevant organ (all in sterile container)

Reference range

Not applicable

Turnaround time

24 hours

Disease / group

Viral infection


Upon request

Call in advance?

Not required

Microbiology, Virology and Infection Control

Our laboratory performs a wide range of routine and specialist investigations in Bacteriology, Virology and PCR.

© 2011 Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust