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Test ID VZM Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV) Antibody, IgM, Serum


Specimen Required


Container/Tube:

Preferred: Serum gel

Acceptable: Red top

Specimen Volume: 0.5 mL


Forms

If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Microbiology Test Request (T244) with the specimen.

Useful For

Diagnosing acute-phase infection with varicella-zoster virus

Method Name

Immunofluorescence Assay (IFA)

Reporting Name

Varicella-Zoster Ab, IgM, S

Specimen Type

Serum

Specimen Minimum Volume

0.2 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Serum Refrigerated (preferred) 14 days
  Frozen  14 days

Clinical Information

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV), a herpes virus, causes 2 exanthematous (rash-associated) diseases, chickenpox and herpes zoster (shingles). Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease usually contracted during childhood and is characterized by a dermal vesiculopustular rash that develops in successive crops approximately 10 to 21 days following exposure.(1). Although primary infection results in immunity to subsequent exposure to chickenpox, the virus remains latent in the body, localized to the dorsal root or cranial nerve ganglia. Reactivation of latent infection manifests as herpes zoster. On reactivation, the virus migrates along neural pathways to the skin, producing a unilateral rash usually limited to a single dermatome. Reactivation occurs in older adults and in patients with impaired cellular immunity.(2)

 

Several populations are at risk of suffering unusually severe reactions to VZV infections. The infection in pregnant women may spread through the placenta to the fetus causing congenital disease in the infant. Immunocompromised patients in hospitals may contract severe nosocomial infections from others who have active VZV infections are at risk for developing severe VZV-related complications, which include cutaneous disseminated disease and visceral organ involvement.(2,3). Therefore, serologic screening of direct health care providers (physicians, allied health care personnel) and individuals in high-risk groups is necessary to avoid uncontrolled spread of infection.

 

While the clinical presentation of VZV infection is generally characteristic, serologic evaluation of patients with atypical and systemic infections is often required. For example, it is extremely important to serologically evaluate patients for the early detection of VZV infections in hospital settings. Nosocomial spread of VZV infection can be life-threatening to immunocompromised patients susceptible to infection.

Reference Values

Negative

Reference values apply to all ages.

Interpretation

A positive IgM result indicates a recent infection with varicella-zoster virus (VZV).

 

A negative result does not rule out the diagnosis of VZV infection. The specimen may have been drawn before the appearance of detectable antibodies. Negative results in suspected early VZV infection should be followed by testing a new specimen in 2 to 3 weeks.

Clinical Reference

1. Yankowitz J, Grose C: Congenital infections. In: Storch GA, ed. Essentials of diagnostic virology. Churchill Livingstone; 2000:187-201

2. Gnann JW, Whitley RJ: Herpes Zoster. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:340-346

3. Cvjetkovic D, Jovanovic J, Hrnjakovic-Cvjetkovic I, et al: Reactivation of herpes zoster infection by varicella-zoster virus. Med Pregl. 1999;52(3):125-128

4. Flamholc L: Neurological complications in herpes zoster. Scand J Infect Dis. 1996;100:35-40

5. Whitely RJ: Chickenpox and Herpes Zoster (Varicella-Zoster virus). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Elsevier; 2020:1849-1856

Day(s) and Time(s) Performed

Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Saturday, Sunday; Varies

Analytic Time

Same day/1 day

Test Classification

This test has been cleared, approved or is exempt by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is used per manufacturer's instructions. Performance characteristics were verified by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements.

CPT Code Information

86787

LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
VZM Varicella-Zoster Ab, IgM, S 43588-3

 

Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
80964 Varicella-Zoster Ab, IgM, S 43588-3