What is the role of serologic diagnosis in the management of herpes simplex virus (HSV)?

Updated: Feb 27, 2019
  • Author: J Michael Klatte, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Serologic diagnosis is of little clinical use. Therapeutic decisions cannot be delayed until serologic results become available.

Serologic testing is of value only to determine past exposure to herpes simplex virus. It may be helpful in demonstrating a primary seroconversion. Because of antibody cross-reactivity, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) antibodies are not generally distinguishable unless a glycoprotein G antibody assay is used. Transplacental transfer of maternal herpes simplex virus antibody renders interpretation in neonates difficult.

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