skip navigation

Test Identifier Information

Registration CodeHERP

Detection of HSV and/or VZV DNA. Nucleic acid extraction, PCR amplification and detection.

Diagnostic Use / Indications

Genital , ocular, tissue, dermal samples and vesicular fluids are tested using this protocol

Constituent TestsHerpes simplex virus ;Varicella zoster virus PCR ;
External PriceContact Canterbury Health Laboratories on +64 3 364 0484 or email Labinfo.

Specimen Collection

Pre-Testing Requirements

Please consult laboratory if urgent.

Specimen Collection Protocols

Lesion, ulcer and vesicle swabs

It is optimal to collect specimens within three days of eruption. Disrupt/remove top of vesicle, and collect fluid with a dacron tipped swab (black top swab).With the same swab rub the base of the lesion, ulcer or open vesicle, Return the dry swab to the Laboratory. DO NOT place in bacterial transport medium

For non-vesicular lesions it is recommended that cells be collected from the base of the lesion using a swab pre-moistened with sterile saline.

Swab Identification Guide


Place small samples into virus transport medium to prevent drying. Place bigger specimens into a sterile container.


If neonatal disseminated HSV is suspected an EDTA sample (purple tube) should be submitted.

Patient SpecimenRefer written protocols
Paediatric SpecimenRefer written protocols
Sample Delivery to LabAt room temperature

CHLabs Laboratory

Contact Details** Unknown email address **
Contact Phone Number03-3640416 / ext. 80416
Test AvailabilityBatched Mon - Fri, 0900 - urgent testing by arrangement
Turnaround Time8 - 75 hrs


Herpes simplex virus causes both latent, asymptomatic and symptomatic infections. During primary infection shedding can occur from sites other than the primary lesion, similarly during reactivation virus shedding may occur in the presence or absence of symptoms.


Diagnostic testing is helpful when clinical diagnosis is uncertain (especially immunocompromised individuals), where atypical lesions are present or when antiviral therapy is contemplated.


Results are reported as Herpes simplex virus (1 or 2) DNA DETECTED or Herpes simplex virus DNA NOT detected.


PCR results should always be interpreted in conjunction with clinical history or symptomatology.


Additional Information

Application/Testing Strategy/Pricing Structure



Diagnostic testing for Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is very helpful when a clinical diagnosis is uncertain (especially in immunocompromised individuals), where atypical lesions are present or when antiviral therapy is contemplated.

These assay can be used for the detection and subtyping of HSV nucleic acid from all samples and sites excluding CSF. For CSF testing refer to Herpes simplex virus - CSF.


Nucleic acid testing by PCR HSV has an increased sensitivity and provides improved turn around time compared to virus culture. PCR is now the diagnostic test of choice for HSV, and has replaced antigen detection and culture at CHL.

Direct antigen and culture are still available on request. Please consult the Virology laboratory.


Testing Strategy:

Where possible the referrer needs to indicate the site and virus of interest. This will help the laboratory rationalise what testing is needed. For example genital sites will be tested for Herpes simplex viruses (HSV) one and two. Cutaneous sites will be tested for Varicella zoster virus (VZV) first and then for HSV if clinically indicated. Samples from oral and lip lesions will be tested for HSV. Often HSV and VZV skin infections are clinically indistinguishable.


Delphic Number Test Number2319

CHL Follow us on Facebook