Pathology Associates Of Lexington, P.A.
Pathology Associates Of Lexington, P.A.
Pathology Associates Of Lexington, P.A.
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        Chicken Pox Test, Blood
Varicella Zoster Virus, Serum Antibodies
Antibodies rise in the highly prevalent childhood disease of Chicken Pox, usually a mild ...sometimes sub-clinical... disease which can be much worse when initially acquired as an adult.  Adult relapse is often as a pain syndrome more or less localized to a body (not just skin) dermatomal segment and may not manifest skin changes.  The virus is thought to reside in one or more sensory nerve dorsal ganglia and to cause inflammation  and  "radicular pain" if reactivated from its dormant state. Rapid working diagnosis  is possible from a Wright's- stained, air-dried Tzank smear or, less quickly, from a biopsy if there is a blistering skin lesion from which to make a smear. [warning]

Neg., non-reactive, undetectable status:
  • Unusual for adults to be IgG non-reactive... could the person be anergic? It may take a case with greater than 10-15 skin blisters to be "heavy enough" to confer lifetime immunity

  • Geographical population background IgG antibody positivity likely if positive titer is not greater than 1:160

  • IgM should be non-reactive except in acute or very early recurrent infection (or in the "low/low" artifact, below).

Causes of Increased Values/Levels

  • 1:320 - 1:640  IgG is borderline positivity unless there is a previous, much lower titer on record
  • Equal to or greater than 1:1280 IgG is compatible with primary or secondary infection
  • IgM positivity is expected in primary infectious and may be seen briefly in secondary/recurrent infections
  • Beware of  positive over-interpretation disease in situations of "low/low" patterns of  IgM/IgG positivity (that is, IgM 1:20 and IgG 1:160 should be noted as atypical test results but not considered diagnostic of "disease")

Test Synonyms

Other names for this exact or approximate agent are:   

  • VZV, Shingles, Chicken Pox, Herpes Zoster, Herpesvirus varicellae
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