Human varicella-zoster virus (VZV)
Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of human varicella-zoster virus by
real time polymerase chain reaction
(chickenpox) and zoster represent different clinical
manifestations of infection with the same agent,
varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Varicella occurs most frequently
in children and is characterized by a generalized vesicular
exanthem often accompanied by fever. Zoster (shingles) usually
occurs in adults or immunocompromised patients (including those
with AIDS) and consists of a painful, circumscribed eruption of
vesicular lesions with accompanying inflammation of associated
dorsal root or cranial nerve sensory ganglia. Varicella is the
primary infection with VZV, whereas zoster is a secondary
infection due to reactivation of latent VZV in sensory ganglia.
VZV is a
member of the Herpesviridae. The genomic size is approximately
125 kb. The genome can exist in four different isomeric forms.
primates, such as the common marmoset, Callithrix jacchus, have
been shown to be capable of being infected with human
varicella-zoster virus (Provost et al., 1987). This observation
is not surprising as simian varicella-zoster virus and human
varicella-zoster virus share a high degree of genomic similarity
and antigenicity (Felsenfeld and Schmidt, 1979; Gray and Oakes,
1984). The outbreak of human varicella virus infections in
captive monkeys is of concern as the potential exists for
contact between monkeys and human carriers of this virus.
detection of VZV infection is not very reliable, sensitive or
specific. VZV detection by PCR is the most rapid, sensitive and
specific method for the diagnosis of this infection.
Help confirm the disease causing agent
Help ensure that animal colonies are free of VZV
Early prevention of spread of this virus among a colony
Minimize personnel exposure to this virus
Safety monitoring of biological products and vaccines
that derive from primates
Felsenfeld, A.D. and Schmidt, N.J. (1979) Varicella-zoster virus
immunizes patas monkeys against simian varicella-like disease.
J. Gen. Virol. 42:171-178.
Gray, W.L. and Oakes, J.E. (1984)
Simian varicella virus DNA shares homology with human
varicella-zoster virus DNA. Virology 136:241-246.
P.J., Keller, P.M., Banker, F.S., Keech, B.J., Klein, H.J.,
Lowe, R.S., Morton, D.H., Phelps, A.H., McAleer, W.J. and Ellis,
R.W.(1987) Successful infection of the common marmoset (Callithrix
jacchus) with human varicella-zoster virus. J. Virol.
swab or lesion scab, or 0.2 ml whole blood in EDTA
(purple top) or ACD (yellow top) tube.
types other than those listed here, please call to confirm
specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.
specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during
very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship
with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are
specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain
frozen in transit. See shipping
instructions for more information.
2 business days
Qualitative real time PCR