The varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes chickenpox and shingles. Chickenpox or shingles are usually diagnosed with a visual examination by a healthcare professional. Sometimes, a healthcare provider may order a Varicella IGG test to check for immunity to the varicella-zoster virus (VZV).
Varicella IGG test may be done on individuals who are at a higher risk of getting complications from VZV and who don't have or are unsure about their immunity, including pregnant women, new born babies, if the mother is infected, people (teens and adults) with symptoms of chickenpox, and those with HIV/AIDS or other conditions that affect immunity.
Chickenpox is a common childhood disease that is highly contagious and may cause red, itchy sores throughout the body. Chickenpox is usually a mild illness in healthy children, but it can become serious for people with a weakened immune system, pregnant women, adults, and new born babies.
Shingles may cause a painful, burning rash that may be localized in one part of the body, or it can spread to other parts. Usually, people with shingles will recover within three to five weeks, but sometimes it may cause long-term pain and other problems.
Frequently asked questions
How is the blood sample taken?
A tourniquet (elastic) band is placed tightly on the upper arm to take the blood sample. The patient is then asked to make a fist. This helps in the build-up of blood filling the veins, making it easy to collect the blood. The skin is cleaned before inserting the needle in the vein to prevent bacteria from entering. Needle is inserted into the vein of the arm and the blood sample is collected in the vacutainer.
Why do I need a Varicella IGG test?
You may need a Varicella IGG test, especially if you are at risk for complications, are not immune to VZV, and have symptoms of infection. Speak right away to your healthcare professional if you have an itchy, red, blistering rash all over the body or painful rash that appear in just one area, and along with other symptoms include fever, headache, and sore throat. These symptoms help to diagnose whether you have shingles or chickenpox. You may also undergo this test if you were recently exposed to chickenpox or shingles affected person. One cannot get shingles from another person, but the shingles virus (VZV) can spread and cause chickenpox in people who don't have a proper immune system.
What is a blister test?
During the Varicella IGG test, your healthcare provider may gently place a cotton swab on a blister to collect fluid in one of the blisters for testing. Blister tests are used to check for the presence of the virus directly, whereas blood tests are used to check for antibodies to the VZV.