Varicella Zoster Antigen, DFA

Test Code

CPT Codes

Preferred Specimen
Minimum 3 mL Vesicular Fluid or scraping collected in V-C-M Medium (green-cap) tube, equivalent or clean glass slide

Other Acceptable Specimens
Minimum 3 mL Eye fluid swab in VCM medium (green-cap) tube or equivalent

To maintain optimum viability, place swab into VCM or equivalent and transport the specimen to the laboratory as soon as possible. Best recovery is obtained when the specimens are refrigerated at 2-8°C or kept on wet ice following collection and while in transit. If there will be a long delay before processing, specimens in VCM or equivalent should be frozen at -70°C or colder and transported on dry ice. Storage or transport at -20°C is not acceptable.
Raw (unpreserved) samples should only be refrigerated and not frozen.

Transport Temperature
Refrigerated (cold packs)

Specimen Stability
VCM medium (green-cap) tube or equivalent
Room temperature: Unacceptable
Refrigerated: 72 hours
Frozen -20° C: Unacceptable
Frozen -70° C: 30 days

Room temperature: 7 days
Refrigerated: 7 days
Frozen: Unacceptable

Reject Criteria (Eg, hemolysis? Lipemia? Thaw/Other?)
Slides fixed with spray-on type of fixative • Bacterial transport or nucleic acid transports • Swabs not in viral transport

Direct Fluorescent Antibody Stain (DFA)

Setup Schedule
Set up: Mon-Sat a.m.; Report available: 2-3 days

Reference Range
Not detected

Clinical Significance
Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV) is a DNA virus of the herpes group which causes chicken pox (varicella) and shingles (zoster). Varicella is the outcome of primary infection while zoster is a result of the reactivation of latent virus. Varicella is characterized by an incubation period of 14-15 days with fever and malaise progressing to the appearance of macules which progress to papules and then to vesicles. Zoster is characterized by an inflammatory reaction of the posterior nerve root and ganglia accompanied by vesicles over the areas supplied by the sensory nerves.

Performing Laboratory
Quest Diagnostics Infectious Disease, Inc.
33608 Ortega Highway, Bldg B-West Wing
San Juan Capistrano, 92675-2042

The CPT Codes provided in this document are based on AMA guidelines and are for informational purposes only. CPT coding is the sole responsibility of the billing party. Please direct any questions regarding coding to the payor being billed. Any Profile/panel component may be ordered separately. Reflex tests are performed at an additional charge.