Herpes simplex virus culture and typing [select patients only]

Alphabetical Test listing

Herpes simplex virus culture and typing [select patients only]-994

Herpes simplex virus culture and typing [select patients only]
Five- to seven-day Herpes virus culture/type
HSV culture and typing
Viral Culture, HSV
Virus Isolation, Herpes Simplex

This is a second-order test for HSV detection.

PCR testing (2784A/LAB2784A) is preferred for detection of HSV from lesions. 


Culture is less sensitive than PCR and should be reserved for selected source types for which PCR testing is not available, and clinical situations that require culture confirmation for susceptibility testing.

Swab: NP, throat, ulcerated lesion, eye exudate or vaginal

Specimen is best collected within the first three days after appearance of lesion but no more than seven days.


After collection, remove cap from the transport media tube and insert swab aseptically into transport tube and break swab shaft. Replace cap so that swab will not interfere with closure and allow tube to leak. Label tube with patient identification and transport to the laboratory at 4°C. Specify the exact specimen source/origin (eg, genital lesion).


Copan UTM-RT transport (purple cap)

Body fluids and tissue samples may be submitted in Copan UTM-RT transport (purple cap) or in a sterile leakproof container.

Fluid (vesicular urine, CSF)
Tissue (biopsy or autopsy)

Sterile vial/container

Fluid - 1.0 mL; Tissue - 0.5 g

Sterile vial/container


Refrigerated - 7 days

  • Bacterial swab specimen
  • Specimen received in grossly leaking transport container
  • Dry specimen
  • Specimen submitted in fixative or additive
  • Specimen received in expired transport media or incorrect transport device
  • Inappropriate specimen transport conditions
  • Specimen stored or transported greater than seven days refrigerated
  • Specimen stored or transported at room temperature
  • Wooden shaft swab in transport device
  • Unlabeled specimen or name discrepancy between specimen and test request label
LabCorp Burlington (008250): R-NX
2 - 4 days
Enzyme-linked virus-inducible system (ELVIS®). ELVIS® HSV was developed using a transgenic baby hamster kidney-21 cell line. In this cell line, HSV infection causes the expression of a beta-galactosidase "reporter gene", and it is the expression of this gene that can be used to monitor infection by HSV. Cultures positive by ELVIS® are confirmed by immunofluorescent staining.



Infectious HSV is rarely present in CSF during encephalitis, resulting in a poor recovery by culture (< 5% in adults, < 50% in children). Studies have shown a > 98% detection of HSV DNA in CSF by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and this method is now considered the standard for diagnosis of HSV encephalitis. HSV is occasionally isolated from the CSF of patients with HSV-2 meningitis and of neonates with congenital herpes, and from urine of patients with primary genital HSV infections concurrent with cystitis.

Result 5859-4