Is culturing for chickenpox (varicella) (varicella-zoster virus) (VZV) useful?

Updated: Aug 31, 2020
  • Author: Anthony J Papadopoulos, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Isolation of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) through culture of vesicular fluid provides a definitive diagnosis; however, culturing for VZV is technically difficult, and cultures are positive less than 40% of the time. Direct immunofluorescence study offers excellent sensitivity and is more rapid than tissue culture. Polymerase chain reaction-based techniques are highly sensitive in identifying VZV, but they are not readily available. [20]


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