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Varicella Zoster Antibody Screen

Primary infection with varicella zoster virus causes chickenpox, while reactivation of the virus is responsible for varicella zoster, or shingles. Varicella is highly contagious with secondary attack rates of 90% for susceptible household contacts. A reliable history of varicella infection is a valid measure of immunity, however, if necessary, immunity status to varicella zoster virus may be determined serologically through enzyme immunoassay (EIA) detection of IgG antibody. Antibody acquired from either natural infection or through immunization may be detected, however, levels are generally lower following immunization and may be below detection limits of the assay. The sensitivity of the assay is 86-97% with a specificity of 82-99%.

Results are interpreted as follows:

Level

Interpretation

<15

Negative, no previous infection

15 -19

Equivocal

>20

Positive, previous or current infection

This test is qualitative and intended for determination of immune status only. Quantitative IgM and IgG antibody studies should be used for the diagnosis of acute or recent infection.

The specimen requirement is one SST or plain red top tube of blood.

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