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Herpes Simplex Virus Antibody (IgM) with Reflex to Titer

Test code(s) 7438

The FAQ information attached by the previously provided link has been retired. The link continues to be available for your historic reference. Current FAQs can be viewed at QuestDiagnostics.com/FAQs.

Question 1. Why is a “screen detected with a titer of <1:10” result interpreted as negative?

The herpes simplex virus (HSV) IgM antibody screen is very sensitive. Therefore, specimens exhibiting a detectable (equivocal or positive) result are automatically tested by a second method, IFA, to determine the IgM titer. A negative IFA result suggests that the screen may have been falsely positive, possibly due to cross-reactions with cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, or varicella zoster virus. If acute or recent HSV infection is suspected, collect a second specimen in two weeks and test for IgM and HerpeSelect® type-specific IgG.

Question 2. Which HSV type is positive?

The HSV IgM assay detects type-common as well as type-specific antibodies; therefore, this test does not distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2. To differentiate between HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection, order Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 (IgG), Type-Specific Antibodies (HerpeSelect®) or Herpes Simplex Virus,Type 1 and 2 DNA, Real-Time PCR.

This FAQ is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. A clinician’s test selection and interpretation, diagnosis, and patient management decisions should be based on his/her education, clinical expertise, and assessment of the patient.
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