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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Cite this: Michael Stuart Bronze. Fast Five Quiz: Are You Familiar With These Sexually Transmitted Diseases? - Medscape - Apr 09, 2020.