What is the role of lab testing in the diagnosis of herpes simplex virus (HSV) keratitis?

Updated: Jan 18, 2019
  • Author: Jim C Wang (王崇安), MD; Chief Editor: Andrew A Dahl, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

HSV keratitis remains primarily a clinical diagnosis based on characteristic features of the corneal lesion. [1] If the diagnosis is in doubt, however, laboratory diagnosis can be made using the following [2] :

  • Giemsa stain - Scrapings of the corneal or skin lesions show multinucleated giant cells

  • Papanicolaou stain - This shows intranuclear eosinophilic inclusion bodies

  • Viral culture

  • Immunohistochemistry looking for herpes simplex viral antigens

  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay [3]

See Workup for more detail.


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