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J Med Virol. 1998 Mar;54(3):155-7.

Investigation of vesicular rashes for HSV and VZV by PCR.

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Public Health Laboratory, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, United Kingdom.


Vesicular fluid from rashes of 132 patients was tested by a multiplex PCR shown to be specific for herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 and 2, and varicella zoster virus (VZV) genomic DNA. The results were compared with those obtained by examination by electron microscopy and virus isolation by cell culture. The PCR did not differentiate between HSV 1 and 2. By PCR, 64 HSV infections and 53 VZV infections were identified, with presumed 100% sensitivity and specificity. Fifteen specimens tested negative by PCR, electron microscopy, and virus isolation for herpes viruses. The sensitivities of virus isolation and electron microscopy for detection of herpes simplex virus were 56% and 80%. For varicella zoster virus, the sensitivities of virus isolation and electron microscopy were 47% and 60%. These data illustrate the advantage of rapid PCR diagnosis of herpes simplex virus and varicella zoster virus in vesicle fluids.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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