Which tests are performed to confirm the diagnosis of herpes zoster (shingles)?

Updated: Jan 25, 2019
  • Author: Camila K Janniger, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

When acute diagnostic confirmation is desired, modern tests, such as direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) testing or PCR (if available), are preferred to the Tzanck smear. DFA testing of vesicular fluid or a corneal lesion can yield the VZV antigen. Both DFA and PCR have far greater sensitivity and specificity than the Tzanck smear and allow differentiation between herpes simplex virus (HSV) and VZV infections.


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