A multiplex PCR was designed to amplify herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, cytomegalovirus, and varicella-zoster virus DNA present in a diverse range of clinical material. Specimens received in the lab before noon are performed same day Turnaround: 1-2 days. The patient had an immediate response to acyclovir; however, when the PCR returned negative she was discharged without therapy. OBJECTIVES To test by HC-PCR by nPCR and cell culture the CSF and sera from patients with viral infections of the CNS. The turnaround time for performance of the assay was markedly reduced compared to those for the other techniques used to identify these viruses. Please specify site. CSF PCR for herpes virus is highly sensitive and specific and remains the standard for diagnosing herpes encephalitis.
Of the 154 serum samples, 17 (11.0%) tested positive by HC-PCR for HSV-1 (4), HSV-2 (1), CMV(1), EBV(1), VZV(3) or HHV-6(6), 1 with co-HSV-2/VZV infection. Detection of members of this group may comprise up to half the workload of many diagnostic virology laboratories. Culture and tests for antibodies did not supply sufficiently sensitive and specific data. CONCLUSIONS Our laboratory experience shows that herpesviruses play a central aetiological role in viral infections of the CNS. PCR analysis, especially the HC-PCR test, have revolutionised the diagnostic approach to such infections, making possible rapid, specific and highly sensitive baseline screening. Multiplex PCR assays have been described for herpesviruses, although they vary in terms of the virus types represented and the specimens analyzed.