Ordering Recommendation

Detect varicella-zoster virus (VZV). DFA sensitivity is highest when performed on scrapings from base of lesions. Molecular testing is generally preferred; refer to Varicella-Zoster Virus by PCR (0060042).

New York DOH Approval Status

This test is not New York state approved.

Specimen Required

Patient Preparation

Collect vesicle specimen during first 3 days of rash.


Vesicle swab, tissue, or skin scrapings. Swab should be rolled in base of fresh vesicle to obtain cells.

Specimen Preparation

Immediately transfer specimen to viral transport media (ARUP Supply #12884) and refrigerate (extremely temperature sensitive).  Available online through eSupply using ARUP Connect™ or contact ARUP Client Services at (800) 522-2787.

Storage/Transport Temperature


Unacceptable Conditions

Bone marrow, CSF, or whole blood. Calcium alginate, eSwab, dry or wood swabs.


Specimen source preferred.


Ambient: 4 hours; Refrigerated: 72 hours; Frozen: Unacceptable


Direct Fluorescent Antibody Stain




Within 24 hours

Reference Interval


Interpretive Data

Approximately 20% of samples submitted for VZV are positive for herpes simplex virus. Testing for herpes simplex virus is NOT included in this test.

Compliance Category

Modified FDA


Sensitivity of DFA methodology is dependent upon adequacy of the specimen.  If there are fewer than 20 cells, the DFA result will be reported as "sample inadequate."

Culture is recommended for any DFA-negative swabs or inadequate samples. Refer to Varicella-Zoster Virus DFA with Reflex to Varicella-Zoster Virus Culture (0060282).

Hotline History


CPT Codes



Component Test Code* Component Chart Name LOINC
0060290 Varicella-Zoster Virus by DFA 5882-6
0060341 Varicella-Zoster Virus FA Source 31208-2
* Component test codes cannot be used to order tests. The information provided here is not sufficient for interface builds; for a complete test mix, please click the sidebar link to access the Interface Map.


  • Herpes Zoster Virus
  • Varicella Zoster Virus
  • VZV
  • VZV Antigen Detection
Varicella-Zoster Virus DFA