Varicella-Zoster Virus - VZV

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is the etiologic agent of chickenpox (varicella) and shingles (herpes zoster). Chickenpox is caused by a primary infection of VZV and is most common in children, whereas shingles results from reactivation of a latent VZV infection and is most common in adults older than 50 years. Vaccinations against chickenpox and shingles have greatly decreased the incidence and severity of VZV infections.  Because of this, clinical diagnosis has become more difficult, and laboratory confirmation of VZV is increasingly important in routine clinical practice.  Laboratory tests such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), culture, and direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) stains can identify VZV, but PCR is the preferred test in most situations due to its high specificity and quick turnaround time. Additionally, serology can provide evidence of immunization status or previous infection. 

Tabs Content
Content Review: 
December 2019

Last Update: December 2019