Test Catalog

Test ID: VZV    
Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) Immunostain, Technical Component Only

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Aids in the identification of varicella zoster virus infection

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is a member of the herpes virus family and is the etiological agent for varicella (chicken pox) and herpes zoster (shingles). The immunostain for VZV uses a cocktail of antibodies that recognizes several glycoproteins, the nucleocapsid protein, and the immediate early protein of the virus.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

This test includes only technical performance of the stain (no pathologist interpretation is performed). Mayo Clinic cannot provide an interpretation of tech only stains outside the context of a pathology consultation. If an interpretation is needed, refer to PATHC / Pathology Consultation for a full diagnostic evaluation or second opinion of the case. All material associated with the case is required. Additional specific stains may be requested as part of the pathology consultation, and will be performed as necessary at the discretion of the Mayo pathologist.


The positive and negative controls are verified as showing appropriate immunoreactivity and documentation is retained at Mayo Clinic Rochester. If a control tissue is not included on the slide, a scanned image of the relevant quality control tissue is available upon request. Contact 855-516-8404.


Interpretation of this test should be performed in the context of the patient's clinical history and other diagnostic tests by a qualified pathologist.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Age of a cut paraffin section can affect immunoreactivity. Stability thresholds vary widely among published literature and are antigen-dependent. Best practice is for paraffin sections to be cut within 6 weeks.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Arvin AM: Varicella zoster virus. In Fields Virology. Vol 2. Fourth edition, Edited by DM Knipe, PM Howely. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2001, pp 2731-2767

2. Gilden DH, Kleinschmidt-DeMasters BK, LaGuardia JJ, et al: Neurologic complications of the reactivation of varicella-zoster virus. N Engl J Med 2000 Mar 2;342(9):635-645

3. Nikkels AF, Debrus S, Sadzot-Delvaux C, et al: Comparative immunohistochemical study of herpes simplex and varicella-zoster infections. Virchows Arch A Pathol Anat Histopathol 1993;422(2):121-126