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Herpes simplex Culture

Item Value
Approval req'd? Yes, contact Microbiology at x3-1268 for testing on urine from patients ≥ 1 month old, bronchoalveolar lavage, vitreous fluid, amniotic fluid or CSF
Available Stat? No
Test code P325
Test group Herpes
Performed by Microbiology
In House Availability Set up daily, day and evening shifts
Method Tissue culture
Collection Instructions Using flocked swab, rub vesicle. Swab fluid of vesicle and rub base of lesion to obtain cells. Place swab in UTM. Collection kits are available from Microbiology.
Container type
Swabs & tissue Flocked swab in Universal Transport Medium (UTM)
Urine and other fluids Sterile container
CSF CSF tube or sterile collection tube
Amount to Collect Tissue: 5 cu. mm, Urine and other fluids: 10 mL
Sample type Tissue, bronchial, eye, genital swab, oral swab, urine, vesicle/ulcer swab, vitreous fluid, amniotic fluid, CSF
Preferred volume Tissue: 5 cu. mm, Urine and other fluids: 10 mL

Min. Volume Tissue: 2 cu. mm, Urine and other fluids: 0.5 mL
UCSF Rejection Criteria Samples not received in suitable container/transport medium. Unsuitable sample types.
Processing notes If both DFA and culture are ordered on a swab in UTM, give to Virology to prepare slide first.
HSV susceptibilities to acyclovir and/or foscarnet require approval.
Normal range
Synonyms Viral culture; HSV
Stability Room temperature 6 hours, refrigerated 1 day
Turn around times 5 days
Additional information Typing by DFA is performed on positive cultures at an additional charge.
Herpes simplex virus DNA testing is more sensitive than culture for vitreous fluid, amniotic fluid, and CSF.


Culture of the CSF for Herpes simplex will only be run in the setting of probable meningitis e.g. in disseminated infection in a newborn or for meningoencephalitis associated with genital herpes infection.

CSF culture will not be done in patients who present with an encephalitis only, for whom PCR is the appropriate test (see Herpes simplex, DNA).
CPT coding 87252
LOINC code 5859-4
Last Updated 11/23/2016 5:10:08 PM
Entry Number 495
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