UCSF Navigation Bar

UCSF Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Home Page

Lab Manual for UCSF Clinical Laboratories

Lab Manual for SFGH

Internal Resources

Click here for more information about laboratory operations and procedures

If you have additional questions regarding this test, please call: 415-353-1667

Search Our Test Menu

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 a cotton-tip swab with a wire shaft, rub vcessicle. Swab fluid of vesicle and rub base of lesion to obtain cells. Place swab in viral holding medium.

Swabs and viral holding medium are available from Microbiology
Container type
Swabs & tissue Viral holding media
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 Sample collected on Calgi-swabs. Swabs not received in viral holding media. Unsuitable sample types.
Processing notes If both DFA and culture ordered on a swab in VHM, 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 7/28/2016 12:52:23 PM
Entry Number 495
UCSF home page UCSF home page About UCSF Search UCSF UCSF Medical Center