Varicella Zoster Virus Detection

Testing Indications

The Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is a multiplex assay that detects VZV and Herpes Simplex (HSV)-1, HSV-2.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit

Varicella Zoster (VZV)

Swabs of lesion/vesicular fluid

1 swab collected from “fresh” vesicle

Virus Culture Collection Kit Order # 390081

VZV genotyping2

Swabs of lesion/vesicular fluid

1 swab collected from “fresh” vesicle

Virus Culture Collection Kit Order # 390081

VZV resistance testing3

Swabs of lesion/vesicular fluid

1 swab collected from “fresh” vesicle

Virus Culture Collection Kit Order # 390081

Submission and Collection Notes

1

Samples requesting VZV will be tested by an in-house multiplex HSV 1 & 2 / VZV PCR method.

2

VZV genotyping differentiates between the wild type and vaccine strains of VZV. It is referred out to National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) when requested. 

Genotyping (Wild-Type vs. Vaccine Strain Differentiation).

3

VZV resistance testing is referred out to NML when clinically indicated.

Preparation Prior to Transport

Label the specimen container with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Special Instructions

Follow the instructions found in the Virus-Culture Kit Instruction Sheet.

Place specimen in biohazard bag and seal. Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHO’s laboratory on ice packs. If transport is delayed for more than 4 days, store at -80˚C and ship on dry ice.

Complete all fields of the General Test Requisition Form. Include, the patient’s full name, date of birth, Health Card Number (must match the specimen label), enter the name of the test requested under test description, source of specimen, date of onset, date of collection, physician name and address, and clinical diagnosis.    

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Varicella Zoster virus PCR testing is performed daily Monday to Friday.

TAT is up to 4 days from specimen receipt at PHO’s laboratory.

Reporting

Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

Specimens that are positive for Varicella Zoster virus are reported to the Medical Officer of Health as per Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Test Methods

As of August 6th, 2019 virus culture will no longer be performed for VZV detection. Specimens will be tested for HSV-1/HSV-2/VZV at PHO’s laboratory in Toronto using a more sensitive in-house real-time multiplex PCR method.

contact lab

Contact Laboratory Customer Service

Laboratory Services

customerservicecentre@oahpp.ca

Updated 20 July 2020