Herpes Simplex Antibodies
Herpes simplex virus (HSV), a member of the herpes virus group, causes various clinically severe manifestations, including genital lesions, keratitis or conjunctivitis, generalized dermal lesions, and pneumonia. Severe involvement is associated with intrauterine or neonatal infections and encephalitis; such infections are most severe in immunosuppressed patients. Of the two closely related antigenic types, Type 1 usually causes infections above the waistline; Type 2 infections predominantly involve the external genitalia. Primary contact with this virus occurs in early childhood as acute stomatitis or, more commonly, as an inapparent infection.
Sensitive assays, such as indirect immunofluorescence and enzyme immunoassay, are used to demonstrate immunoglobulin M (IgM) class antibodies to HSV or to detect a fourfold or greater increase in IgG class antibodies between acute- and convalescent-phase sera.
Procedure and posttest care
Sera from patients who have never been infected with HSV have no detectable antibodies (less than 1 :5).
Normal serum values indicating the absence of infection are IgG less than 1:5 and IgM less than 1:10; higher levels are considered positive. The presence of IgM or a fourfold or greater increase in IgG antibodies indicates active HSV infection. Reactivated infections caused by HSV can be recognized serologically only by an increase in IgG class antibodies between acuteand convalescent-phase sera.
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