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Written by
Dr. Shreya Gupta
BDS, MDS - Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Reviewed by
Dr. Ashish Ranjan
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
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Varicella Zoster IgM

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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?

  1. When atypical symptoms of chickenpox or shingles appear and it is necessary to distinguish an infection by VZV from other conditions showing similar symptoms
  2. To determine the age of the infection
  3. To check for immunity against VZV
  4. Confirm diagnosis when the patient is suspected to have been exposed to the virus


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