M R Lokeshwar
How Does One Diagnose Chickenpox In a Child?
Chickenpox is usually diagnosed on clinical grounds alone. A history of contact with a case of chickenpox, characteristic pruritic, papulovesicular rash, and the relative absence or mildness of constitutional symptoms make this possible. Laboratory tests are indeed available. The most rapid test used is the tzanck cytodiagnosis. Smears of scraped vesicular base are stained with giemsa, haematoxylin and eosin or Papanicolaou and are examined under a microscope for multinucleated giant cells and intranuclear inclusion bodies. However, one cannot differentiate between VZV and herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection on the basis of tzanck smear.

Serological tests have been devised for the diagnosis of VZV infection. These tests detect the presence of antibodies synthesized actively in response to VZV infection. Various techniques such as complement fixation, fluorescent antibody, immune adherence haemagglutination (IAHA), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and radioimmunoassay (RIA) have been employed. A four-fold rise in antibody titres between the acute and convalescent sera is considered to be confirmatory of VZV infection. PCR is being evaluated as a diagnostic tool.

Chickenpox Chickenpox 02/04/2002
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