• Diagnosis of Shingles

    Generally, shingles is easily diagnosed by its characteristic discomfort/pain and its distinctive rash. To confirm that you have shingles, your doctor may scrape some skin from a blister or collect some of its fluid. These samples can then be sent to a laboratory for testing. The tests can detect the presence of the varicella-zoster virus.
    These tests include:
    • Microscopic examination
    • Viral culture
    • Immunofluorescence
    • Polymerase chain reaction techniques
    It may take as long as three weeks or several weeks to obtain the results of some of these tests.

    References

    The American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/default.htm . Accessed February 21, 2006.

    Stankus SJ, Dlugopolski M, Packer D. Management of herpes zoster (shingles) and postherpetic neuralgia. Am Fam Physician . 2000;61(8). Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000415/2437.html.

    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/ . Accessed February 21, 2006.

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