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Infectious agent antigen detection by immunofluorescent technique; Herpes simplex virus type 2

CPT4 code

Name of the Procedure:

Infectious Agent Antigen Detection by Immunofluorescent Technique; Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2)


This procedure detects the presence of the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2) in a patient's sample using an immunofluorescent technique. A special dye is used to highlight viral antigens, making them visible under a fluorescent microscope.


Medical Condition or Problem: Identifies active HSV-2 infection. Goals/Outcomes: To confirm the presence of HSV-2, aiding in diagnosis and guiding treatment.


Symptoms/Conditions: Painful sores or blisters in the genital area, suspected herpes outbreak, or recurrent genital infections. Patient Criteria: Patients with clinical symptoms of HSV-2 or those needing confirmation of HSV-2 infection.


Pre-procedure Instructions: No specific preparation required. Diagnostic Tests: May include a physical examination and medical history review.

Procedure Description


  1. A sample, such as a swab from a sore or blister, is collected.
  2. The sample is placed on a glass slide.
  3. The slide is treated with antibodies specific to HSV-2 antigens conjugated with a fluorescent dye.
  4. The slide is examined under a fluorescent microscope.
  5. Presence of fluorescence indicates a positive result for HSV-2.

Tools/Equipment: Glass slides, immunofluorescent antibodies, fluorescent microscope. Anesthesia/Sedation: Not required.


Typically takes about 1 to 2 hours, including sample preparation and analysis.


Performed in a hospital laboratory or specialized diagnostic clinic.


Medical laboratory technologists or technicians trained in immunofluorescent techniques.

Risks and Complications

Common Risks: Minimal risks; potential for sample contamination. Rare Risks: False-positive or false-negative results, usually minimized by strict laboratory protocols.


Expected Benefits: Accurate and timely identification of HSV-2, enabling appropriate management and treatment of the infection. Realization Timeline: Results are usually available within a few hours to a day.


Post-procedure Care: No specific care required post-procedure. Recovery Time: Immediate, as it is a diagnostic test. Restrictions/Follow-up: Follow-up with a healthcare provider for treatment based on the results.


Other Options: Viral culture, PCR testing, and serologic testing for HSV-2 antibodies. Pros/Cons:

  • Viral culture: Longer turnaround time, less sensitive.
  • PCR: Highly sensitive and specific, but more costly and requires specialized equipment.
  • Serology: Identifies past or present infections but may not differentiate between HSV-1 and HSV-2 accurately.

Patient Experience

During: Minor discomfort during sample collection. After: No discomfort, and patients can resume normal activities immediately. Pain Management: Not necessary. Comfort measures during sample collection as needed.

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