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Herpes blood test: tests and the importance of their conduct


A cold sore test is mandatory because this infection is complex and is present in many people. More than half of the planet is infected with this virus, only it does not appear in everyone and its symptoms are not the same in different people.

This virus is very common. It manifests itself in the fact that bubbles appear on the mucous membranes, which burst and form an open wound. A common place for the manifestation of herpes is the oral cavity and genitals.

Herpes Varieties

Most of humanity is faced with herpes diseases, only some do not even suspect the existence of a virus in their body, and even more so about its progressive development. This is due to the fact that this disease may not have external signs or hide behind other diseases. In this case, the ailment can have a negative effect on the body and contribute to the spread of damage to internal organs.

There are eight types:

  • the first is a simple one, which manifests itself in rashes on the lips,
  • the second type is simple, associated with infection of the genitals,
  • the third type includes chickenpox, which causes a rash in children - chickenpox,
  • the fourth type includes infectious mononucleosis,
  • the fifth species is represented by cytomegalovirus infection,
  • the sixth species causes rubella,
  • the last two types provoke rashes and can lead to the appearance of chronic fatigue syndrome.

The first two types of herpes simplex are the most common and common. The first type is manifested in the defeat of the face and lips by rashes with watery acne, they are most often associated with colds. Genital herpes is associated with a disease of the genital organs. One of its varieties is anal herpes. It can occur without obvious symptoms, but at the same time spread and spread. Genital herpes is not hereditary, it is transmitted during sexual activity. Anal herpes is difficult to diagnose, since its foci are difficult to detect.

Analysis classification

Herpes virus cannot be confused with other diseases of a viral nature: grouped vesicles filled with a cloudy liquid, continuous itching and pain management are vivid and not the only symptoms of the external manifestation of herpes infection.

Blood tests of herpes are often and most often, because of the danger noted by us, it is suggested that pregnant girls and women be tested. If the fair sex is at the planning stage and is observed by a gynecologist, then she is also offered to take an analysis for herpes.

Laboratory diagnostics consists of several stages:

  • Determination of immunofluorescence reaction (abbreviation - RIF),
  • General virus screening,
  • PCR

Important! The complex of such measures allows to detect and detect the presence of viral cells in the blood, however, due to the relatively high cost, the majority refuses to take tests.

It is worth highlighting the available, no less common methods for diagnosing the virus:

  • A serological test to detect the presence of infection in humans,
  • A specific glycoprotein that allows you to establish the type of herpes.

Diagnostic Methods

  • ELISA for herpes (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay),
  • PCR (polymerase chain reaction).

In the first case, the state and fact of the presence of antibodies is determined. With herpes, various types of antibodies are distinguished, depending on the type of infection. Given the presence of herpes in the blood, immunoglobulins called IgM are detected.

In the case of chronic forms of the disease, immunoglobulins called IgG find themselves. Given the activation of the disease, IgG will be characterized by an increased level.

The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique allows you to get highly accurate results, and even make a diagnosis: the research approach allows you to determine a specific type of virus (for example, I or II).

As for PCR: the method allows you to detect traces of the disease and its viral cells not only in the blood, but also in bodily fluids - saliva, urine or sputum. In this case, you need to take tests as soon as possible, because PCR allows you to identify the initial stage of the lesion.

PCR results taken using smears or blood tests will give an accurate result and allow the doctor to make a conclusion about the presence of infection or its absence.

Important! Regardless of what tests the patient passes, it is necessary to attend the treatment room on an empty stomach. And it’s better to do this early in the morning, because before donating blood you should not eat for at least 7-8 hours.

Blood test for herpes virus-photo

Why herpesvirus tests are important

The question of the appropriateness and necessity of taking tests to determine the infection is of interest to most patients who have received such an offer from attending physicians. It is important to understand: during an external examination, it is extremely rare even for a qualified specialist to detect the presence of a latent, latent infection. That is why laboratory tests allow with high accuracy to determine whether the patient is infected with herpes, whether it is a carrier, and also to determine the possible type of disease.

So, for example, the latent form of genital herpes can be detected only through a medical examination of the tests. The relevance of using this method lies in the fact that a large number of diseases that are infectious in nature are transmitted through sexual intercourse. And if there is a suspicion of infection, it is possible to confirm them and start timely and effective therapy only after passing the tests.

To summarize

Despite the obvious need for passing the examined types of tests for pregnant women or women who are just planning a pregnancy, it is better to seek the help of doctors at the first suspicion.

The course and symptomatic picture of many types of herpes virus, whether it is herpes on the lips or genitals, will make any patient realize the full extent of the inconvenience and unpleasant consequences of neglect of health.

In addition, provided that the patient has frequent anxieties with herpes rashes, the need to identify the causes of this behavior of the disease must be identified in order to overcome frequent relapses. For example, in the case of detecting the presence of infection in the blood of a person and revealing the insufficient ability of the immune system to resist, immunomodulating drugs will immediately be prescribed, the action of which is to correct the immune system and literally give it strength to fight herpes.

Do not be afraid to contact specialists, do not spare time and money: health is more expensive!

The magnitude of the problem and the role of diagnosis of herpes

Herpes can be called the most common viral disease in the world. It is very simple to get infected with it - it can be transmitted by any contact (kisses, sexual intercourse), during childbirth from mother to baby, through the household, sometimes by airborne droplets. By the time they reach adulthood, almost everyone has been infected with herpes.

Once in the blood, a virus can live in the body for years without showing any signs of itself. But sooner or later he waits for the moment when our immune system weakens. The trigger can be a serious illness, stress, overwork and chronic lack of sleep, hypothermia, hormonal changes, in a word, almost any shake for the body.

The manifestations of herpes depend on the type of virus.

There are 8 types of herpes:

  • Herpes of the 1st type. The most common type. It is he who causes the appearance of itchy vesicles filled with fluid on the lips, tongue, and mucous membranes of the mouth. Sometimes a few hours before the appearance of the bubbles, a person feels an increase in temperature and weakness, although very often the virus attacks without warning.

  • Herpes of the 2nd type. It leads to the appearance of the same vesicle rash, but on the mucous membranes of the genitals. Transmitted through sexual contact. This virus is very dangerous for pregnant women and can lead to fetal abnormalities.
  • Herpes of the 3rd type. It is also called chickenpox virus. It causes chickenpox, which is characteristic of children, as well as shingles. The rash does not occur on the mucous membranes, but on the skin and lasts a very long time, about a month. Accompanied by headaches, general weakness, fever.
  • Herpes of the 4th type, better known as the Epstein-Barr virus. The vesicles characteristic of herpes in this disease are located on the tonsils, the virus provokes a very severe sore throat with fever, weakness, drowsiness and severe sore throat.
  • Herpes of the 5th type (cytomegalovirus). Many are infected with this type of herpes, but very often the virus “sleeps” and does not cause any characteristic symptoms. However, in the active state, cytomegalovirus is very dangerous, it causes severe damage to internal organs. If a pregnant woman is infected with herpes of the 5th type, then there is a high risk of miscarriage or premature birth, as well as fetal abnormalities.
  • Herpes of the 6th type. May lead to the development of eczema, as well as lymphosarcoma and lymphoma.
  • Herpes of the 7th type. A mysterious virus, the only obvious manifestation of which is chronic fatigue, which neither sleep nor rest can cope with. Over time, problems with memory and concentration of attention develop, a person becomes irritable and lethargic, immunity suffers. As a rule, with such symptoms, people do not consider it necessary to consult a doctor and do not even suspect that chronic fatigue syndrome can be caused by a viral infection.
  • Herpes of the 8th type. A rather rare and poorly studied disease that affects lymphocytes is most often found in HIV-infected people and is manifested by the appearance of small sores on the skin. It is activated with the development of Kaposi's sarcoma.

Many believe that it is impossible to get rid of herpes. And in this statement there is some truth - but only a fraction. Yes, today it is impossible to completely destroy the virus in the body. But you can suppress its activity so that the manifestations will not bother you. The treatment is usually combined, antiviral drugs are used, means that strengthen the immune system, physiotherapeutic methods are also used (ozone therapy and others), and with exacerbation, local painkillers and antiviral agents are used.

It is necessary to diagnose and treat herpes, and this is especially important for those who are preparing to become parents. For adults, the herpes virus causes discomfort, but for newborns it can be deadly.

Diagnostic steps

Diagnosis of herpes is divided into two stages - a physical examination and laboratory tests, the purpose of which is to find and identify the herpes virus in the blood and other biomaterials.

Often, upon examination, the doctor is able to determine what type of herpes he is dealing with. However, visual signs can be misleading, for example, genital herpes can be like syphilis, and for some types of herpes, external manifestations are generally not characteristic. Therefore, the doctor will definitely refer you to herpes tests.

Laboratory methods are the basis for the diagnosis of herpes. They allow you to determine the presence of the virus even if it is inactive, as well as establish the type of pathogen and its concentration.

When tests may be scheduled

Herpes tests should be taken regularly, even if there are no manifestations of the disease - this is a normal measure of monitoring the state of health. But in some cases, tests for herpes are required.

  • during planning and management of pregnancy,
  • before preparing for organ transplantation,
  • when vesicles and rashes appear on the skin, the cause of which is difficult to determine during the examination.

How much does a cold sore test cost?

The cost of tests for herpes varies significantly in different private laboratories in Moscow, so we give the average prices.

PCR analysis will cost approximately 900–1500 rubles if the analysis is carried out for all types of herpes, and 300–500 rubles if the analysis is carried out for any one type. IFA costs an average of 750-900 rubles, RIF - 450-700 rubles.

To the cost of the analysis itself, it is necessary to add the cost of biomaterial sampling - an average of 200–300 rubles for a blood sampling and 300–400 rubles for a smear sampling.

The traditional list of tests for herpes includes PCR, ELISA and RIF. Additional studies are prescribed if even these three methods together gave an ambiguous result, which is quite rare.

For accurate test results, contact large laboratories where the entire process is strictly controlled - from taking biomaterial to conducting the study. In addition, it is important for the patients themselves to follow the rules of preparation for the analysis. They are quite simple - you can’t eat or drink 8 hours before taking the biomaterial (the exception is ordinary water), drink alcohol, play sports, and it is advisable to protect yourself from stressful situations.

Herpes types 1 and 2

The most common species are types 1 and 2. The herpes simplex virus enters the body in childhood.

Exacerbations of the disease periodically occur, manifested by such symptoms:

  • hyperemia of the skin,
  • small rashes,
  • itching of the affected area,
  • swelling.

Localization of the lesion - the skin around the lips. General health worsens, weakness, fever, muscle pain appear. In the active phase of the disease, the patient is most dangerous to others.

Herpes type 2 is transmitted by contact and sexually. Localization of the rash - on the external genitalia. This species is dangerous during pregnancy, as it leads to pathologies of fetal development.

Methods for detecting the virus in the body

The causative agent is not amenable to destruction in the human body, its identification is necessary for differentiation with other diseases, establishing the type of virus. Having determined the exact type, they reduce the manifestations of the disease by prescribing appropriate treatment. The analysis for herpes is carried out with complaints of the patient, visible symptoms. Pregnant women undergo a mandatory test to exclude complications of bearing the fetus.

Diagnostic methods for the first 2 types: polymerase chain reaction and enzyme immunoassay. For research, you need blood from a vein, the contents of rashes, crusts, saliva. Other diagnostic methods serve as additional tests for controversial or inaccurate results.

  1. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a method of molecular biological detection of pathogen DNA in human cells. In laboratory conditions, an enzyme is added to the biological material. It provokes the growth of DNA molecules of the pathogen, which is manifested in the crop. With type 2 herpes, it is possible to establish the level of contagiousness of the patient for the prevention of infection of the sexual partner. For the study, venous blood is taken, a swab from the vagina in women, a swab from the penis in men.
  2. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay is based on the detection of immunoglobulins produced by infection with HSV type 1 and 2. Activation of the pathogen in the body leads to the production of specific antibodies IgM and LgG. They work to destroy a foreign organism of the virus. This stage is most pronounced in the acute period of disease recurrence. There are 2 types of ELISA: qualitative and quantitative reactions. In the first case, the presence of the virus is detected. The second method is used to study the amount of antibodies produced, which allows you to assess the patient’s immunity. To diagnose the genital form of herpes, genital secretions are examined.

The second study includes a serological analysis, detecting antibodies of class G (the presence of a pathogen, transferred active stage). They are stored in human blood until the end of life.

Study preparation

An analysis of the herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2 is carried out in the morning. Before sampling, the use of alcohol, fried, salty foods, and medications is excluded. The last meal and water - 8 hours before the study. The test results are influenced by physical activity and psycho-emotional arousal. Due to a surge in the activity of the nervous system, antibodies are secreted, which prevents the detection of immunoglobulins produced in response to the pathogen.

Decryption of analysis results

Determination of the level of antibodies is performed by a laboratory doctor. Each institution has its own reference data values, which are considered the norm. Getting the lowest possible threshold means no virus. The remaining data indicate a varying degree and form of the disease.

The polymerase chain reaction method determines the presence of the pathogen - a positive result or negative in the absence.

Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analyzes in detail the number of antibodies of different classes:

  1. IgM negative / IgG negative - the causative agent of the virus in the body is absent. An error is possible if the penetration of herpesvirus occurred no later than 2 weeks. Для уточнения диагноза тест повторяется.
  2. IgM отрицательный/ IgG положительный — стадия ремиссии. Угроза будущему ребенку во время беременности отсутствует.
  3. IgM positive / IgG negative - acute stage of the disease.
  4. IgM positive / IgG positive - the presence of the pathogen in the body, the initial stage. During pregnancy, there is a high risk of fetal damage.

Important! HSV belongs to the group of TORCH infections. These are potentially dangerous species for pregnant women, affecting the fetal development. High risk of pathology. To prevent such manifestations when planning a pregnancy before conception, a woman undergoes a routine study on the virus, the presence of pathogens of this group of infections.

Disease detection

How to determine the ailment? The causes of infection with the virus can be very different. Sick people are sources of infection and carriers of the virus. When a virus enters a favorable environment, it begins to develop, mucous membranes are such an environment, and it also penetrates the skin.

The virus can be transmitted by contact, by airborne droplets, sexually (genital herpes), by the vertical route.

A blood test for herpes is the only sure way to determine the root cause of infection.

How to determine herpes? Of course, according to its main characteristics.

Symptoms of a simple virus are as follows: it affects areas of the skin around the mouth, lips, nose, and can also appear on the forehead, neck, or cheeks. A person to the outward manifestation may feel itching, redness, burning, and even weakness.

Genital herpes is formed on the mucous membranes of the external genitalia. It is accompanied by itching and burning, as a result, a general malaise may occur.

Symptoms of herpes at different stages of development

Manifestations of herpes depend on its stage. Common symptoms: weakness, headache, malaise, fever. Because of these symptoms, herpetic manifestations are usually associated with a cold.

  1. First stage. At the site of a future rash, itching, tingling is felt, redness of the skin appears. The temperature rises, patients feel weak. Antiviral drugs at the initial stage suspend further development.
  2. The second stage is the formation of a bubble at the site of redness.
  3. The third stage is rupture of the bladder with further ulceration. The patient is most contagious to others.
  4. The fourth stage is the transformation of the bubble into a crust.

Treatment consists of taking antiviral drugs Acyclovir, Famciclovir. Locally affected area of ​​the skin is treated with antibacterial and antiviral ointments. Symptomatic therapy - antipyretic, analgesics.

To prevent repeated relapses, avoid hypothermia, prevent exacerbations of chronic diseases. At the first symptoms, take a blood test for herpes type 1 and 2, begin treatment.

Diagnosis of the disease

What tests are done to make the correct diagnosis? The virus is diagnosed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and polymerase chain reaction. Blood analysis - a laboratory test, which is used to judge the presence or absence of infection.

Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay is a laboratory test method, the results of which determine the presence of low molecular weight compounds, viruses, it is based on the antigen-antibody reaction, this method is the most reliable.

Polymerase chain reaction - this method is considered experimental in molecular biology. Using this study, you can detect the presence of the virus in the initial stages of infection, with a small number of virus particles.

Decryption of analyzes

To decipher the blood test for the herpes virus, you should consult a specialist doctor.

It is possible to independently compare the results of analyzes and indicators of norms in order to have a picture of what is happening. The interpretation of the blood test for herpes of the first and second types is as follows:

The designation "+" has a positive result (there are antibodies in the body), the designation "-" has a negative result (no antibodies).

  1. Ig M -, Ig G early whites +, Ig G late +: we have a primary acute infection or relapse.
  2. Ig M -, Ig G early whitewash -, Ig G late +: we have immunity to the herpes virus (carriage).
  3. Ig M +, early whites +, late Ig G: - we have a primary acute infection.
  4. Ig M +, Ig G early whites +, Ig G late +: we have a primary acute infection.
  5. Ig M -, Ig G early whites -, Ig G late -: we have no viral infection.

The analysis of herpes by the ELISA method is very popular and widespread, since its result is accurate. But the presence of immunoglobulins Ig M and Ig G in the blood indicates the existence of antibodies, and not the existence of a pathogen.

To identify the root cause of the disease, the PCR method is used. Examination by this method takes place at the genetic level by cloning a gene using the deoxyribonucleic acid enzyme. The result of the survey is the identification of positive or negative results. If the result is positive, there is a pathogen in the body, if negative, there is no pathogen.

A blood test for herpes provides an opportunity to determine if there is an infection, and choose the right treatment to prevent its further development in the body and the next appearance.

To take a blood test for herpes, special training is not required. Blood donation occurs in the morning on an empty stomach. It is recommended to follow a diet so that there is no distortion of the result.

Analysis for genital herpes is, in addition to blood donation, taking samples of Tzanka. The biomaterial that is taken for the study is stained and fixed with chemical elements, the cells acquire a characteristic color. This method is less common and relevant.

If the analysis for the herpes virus is positive, you should consult a doctor for qualified help. The doctor will be able to choose the right treatment technique. You should not panic, despite the fact that the virus cannot be cured, its development can be stopped, as well as relieve painful symptoms.

Timely detection of the disease and its treatment prevents negative consequences, reduces the likelihood of relapse.

Timely diagnosis of herpes is the key to your health!