Varicella-Zoster Antibody, IgM and IgG
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV), a herpesvirus, causes 2 distinct exanthematous (rash-associated) diseases: chickenpox (varicella) and shingles (herpes zoster). Chickenpox is a highly contagious, though typically benign disease, usually contracted during childhood. Chickenpox is characterized by a dermal vesiculopustular rash that develops in successive crops approximately 10 to 21 days following exposure.
Although primary infection with VZV results in immunity and protection from subsequent infection, VZV remains latent within sensory dorsal root ganglia and upon reactivation, manifests as herpes zoster or shingles. During reactivation, the virus migrates along neural pathways to the skin, producing a unilateral rash, usually limited to a single dermatome. Shingles is an extremely painful condition typically occurring in older nonimmune adults or those with waning immunity to VZV and in patients with impaired cellular immunity.
Individuals at risk for severe complications following primary VZV infection include pregnant women, in whom the virus may spread through the placenta to the fetus, causing congenital disease in the infant. Additionally, immunosuppressed patients are at risk for developing severe VZV-related complications, which include cutaneous disseminated disease and visceral organ involvement.
Serologic screening for IgG-class antibodies to VZV will aid in identifying nonimmune individuals. The presence of IgM-class antibodies to VZV is suggestive of acute or recent infection however results should be correlated with clinical presentation.
- Sample of blood serum
- We perform the test daily