Fast Five Quiz: Are You Familiar With These Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

Michael Stuart Bronze, MD


April 09, 2020

Immunofluorescent staining of the tissue culture cells can be used to quickly identify HSV and can distinguish between types 1 and 2.

The characteristic cytologic changes induced by HSV can be demonstrated in Tzanck smears; however, this procedure does not distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2. Because of sero–cross-reactivity, HSV-1 and HSV-2 are not generally distinguishable unless a glycoprotein G antibody assay is available. Testing for HSV-specific IgM antibodies is not available.

Detection of HSV DNA in clinical specimens is possible with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques. In HSV encephalitis, PCR using CSF provides a rapid, noninvasive diagnostic technique that is as sensitive as brain biopsy. PCR has been used to detect HSV-2 as the cause of recurrent meningitis (Mollaret meningitis) and has shown a strong association between HSV-1 and Bell palsy. PCR can be used to detect asymptomatic viral shedding.

For more on the workup of HSV, read here.


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