Varicella Zoster IgM
What is Varicella Zoster IgM?
This test checks for the presence of IgM antibodies produced against varicella-zoster virus (VZV). VZV is highly contagious and its first ever exposure causes chickenpox while a second time exposure to the virus leads to the development a painful rash called shingles. Presence of IgM antibodies indicates a current infection. These antibodies help in early detection of the infection as they are first antibodies to be produced by the body in response to a VZV infection.
Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease and manifested by fever, blisters, papules and rashes. Shingles also has similar symptoms.
A negative IgM test does not rule out the possibility of infection as the sample might have been taken before the appearance of antibodies. Hence the test should be repeated after 2-3 weeks if symptoms persist.
Immunocompromised patients and pregnant women can develop serious conditions if not treated well in time.
Why is VZV IgM done?
- When atypical symptoms of chickenpox or shingles appear and it is necessary to distinguish an infection by VZV from other conditions showing similar symptoms
- To determine the age of the infection
- To check for immunity against VZV
- Confirm diagnosis when the patient is suspected to have been exposed to the virus