Test Overview

Test Methodology

Direct Immunofluorescent Antibody (DFA)

Test Usage

Rapid detection of Herpes simplex infections.

Reference Range*


* Reference ranges may change over time. Please refer to the original patient report when evaluating results.

Test Limitations

A negative test does not rule out infection; a negative result during acute infection can occur if no virus infected basal epithelial cells are present on the slide. The rapid antigen test for Herpes simplex virus is not as sensitive as viral culture and therefore it is advisable to send a specimen for viral culture in addition to that for the rapid antigen test. It is not advisable to type Herpes simplex virus from a direct antigen test, as typing the virus from a culture isolate is much more sensitive.

Test Details

Days Test Performed


Analytic Time

2 hours

Soft Order Code


MiChart Code

HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus) Antigen



HSV Antigen
Smear for Viral Antigen
Viral Antigen: Herpes simplex

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Specimen Requirements

Offsite Collection Instructions

Special 3-well Teflon slides are available from MLabs. Using a pencil, label the frosted end of the slide with the patient's first and last names as well as a second identifier such as the patient's medical record number. One slide containing epithelial cells scraped from the base and periphery of the lesion is required. Carefully open the vesicle, soak up the fluid with a dacron or rayon swab, place into M4 transport and use for viral culture. Scrape the base and periphery of the lesion with a sharp instrument or vigorously rub with a dry swab. Gently roll the cells onto the slide, rolling each well separately. Allow the slide to air dry and refrigerate.

Normal Volume

1 slide; 2 slides are optimal

Minimum Volume

1 slide; 2 slides are optimal

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