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This Varicella Zoster Virus Test (VZV), or chickenpox and shingles immunity test, is used to determine whether or not you are immune to the virus by way of vaccination or natural immunity. The Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) is the herpes virus responsible for both chickenpox and shingles. If not vaccinated or naturally immune, either can cause painful blisters or rashes. Fortunately, thanks to vaccinations, both have been largely eradicated but with our Varicella Zoster Virus Test your worries can be put to rest.
For our VZV test, simply place your order online and stop by one of our 4,000+ nationwide testing facilities at your convenience (no appointment required). A member of the center’s staff will collect a small blood sample via the skin prick method, at which point your part of the process is done. The sample collection itself takes only a few minutes and most patients are in and out and about their day in under a half-hour. From there, your sample will be processed in a CLIA-certified laboratory using the IgC ELISA1 test to confirm past infection with varicella (chickenpox). In as little as 24-72 hours you will know whether you have good immunity to chickenpox.
The symptoms of chickenpox2 include the classic rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters, as well as fever, tiredness, loss of appetite or headache. Chickenpox symptoms are generally milder if they occur in people who have been vaccinated. Shingles3 is also caused by the same virus and manifests as an extremely painful rash on one side of the face or body, also potentially accompanied by fever, headache, chills, or upset stomach.
VZV testing is typically recommended for people who were not vaccinated against chickenpox, are unsure if they had it, and are at significant risk of complications. These include pregnant people, newborns born to infected people, and people with a weakened immune system.
You will receive your results within a few days. We try to make interpreting your results as easy as possible. When reviewing your results you will find a ‘results,’ ‘flag’ and ‘reference range’ column. The result column shows your level of antibodies as determined by the IgC ELISA test. The flag column will show whether your results are concerning, and the reference range shows the threshold.
If you find that you have good immunity, then you are immune to chickenpox but are at risk of getting shingles as you get older. If you do not have good immunity, then you remain at risk of chickenpox infection.
The VZV test shows that you have antibodies against chickenpox. This means you have been infected with (or possibly vaccinated against) chickenpox at some point in your life.
A PCR infection test, which is done by taking a scraping from a skin blister, is used to definitively diagnose chickenpox if you or your child has it. While antibody tests are sometimes used for this, the PCR test is considered definitive.
Not everyone develops good antibodies after being infected, although second infections with chickenpox are extremely rare. If you are in doubt about your immunity and are at risk of complications, you should consider a VZV Test.
People who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, or who are immunocompromised (for example with AIDS/HIV) should consider a VZV test if they are not sure whether or not they have had chickenpox and/or have not been vaccinated. Those at particularly high risk of complications should consider getting one anyway.
We try to deliver easy to read, comprehensive results. However, if you have questions, then we have care counselors ready to assist. We can also get you in touch with a physician if needed.
You should remember that this increases your risk of getting shingles later in life. The shingles vaccine is recommended to all adults at the age of 50, in a two-dose regimen. If you are over 50 and have not received the shingles vaccine, then you should do so as soon as possible.
You should talk to a physician about whether they would recommend you receive a dose of the chickenpox vaccine.