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

Varicella zoster virus Antigen (DFA)

Item Value
Approval req'd? Yes, contact Microbiology at x3-1268 for testing samples types not listed
Available Stat? No
Utilization Guidelines Vessicular skin lesion suspected of being varicella (Chicken Pox) or zoster (shingles) should be diagnosed by immunofluorescent assay rather than culture.
Test code P346
Test group Varicella-zoster
Performed by Microbiology
In House Availability Monday-Friday, day and evening shifts. Weekends day shift only.
Method Direct immunofluorescent assay
Collection Instructions Each slide should contain two spots of cells obtained from the base of an intact vesicle with a scalpel blade or swab. These spots should be approximately 1.5 cm in diameter (the size of a dime). Allow material on slide to air dry.
Container type Glass slide x2 for smears, viral holding medium for tissue biopsies.
Amount to Collect Eye, pustule or vesicle: Two slides, each with two cell spots, Tissue: 5 cu. mm
Sample type Eye, pustule or vesicle, tissue (see collection instructions)
Preferred volume Eye, pustule or vesicle: Two slides, each with two cell spots, Tissue: 5 cu. mm
Min. Volume Eye, pustule or vesicle: One slide with two cell spots, Tissue: 2 cu. mm
UCSF Rejection Criteria Improperly collected sample. Unsuitable sample types.
Processing notes Prepare two touch prep smears from tissue. Make a fresh cut of tissue and touch it to the slides.
Give to Virology to make smears if swab in viral holding media is received.
Normal range Negative
Critical value Positive DFA from inpatient or ED Patient.
Synonyms VZ; VZV; VZV Ag; VZV antigen; Varicella-zoster Ag; Varicella-zoster antigen
Stability Slides once prepared are stable at room temperature for 24 hours. For more prolonged stability, fix smears in acetone and freeze them at -70C.
Turn around times Same or next day
Additional information DFA is more sensitive than culture for VZV and is the method of choice, except PCR is more sensitive for CSF and vitreous fluid.
CPT coding 87290
LOINC code 5882-6
Last Updated 8/15/2016 3:01:31 PM
Entry Number 977
UCSF home page UCSF home page About UCSF Search UCSF UCSF Medical Center