Herpes Simplex Virus and Treponema pallidum PCR

Qualitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for Herpes Simplex (type 1 and type 2) DNA and Treponema pallidum DNA. Genito-urinary samples only: discuss other specimens with the 'on-call' virology registrar. This assay is available routinely Mon to Fri.
Clinical details: 
Primary herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection may or may not cause symptoms. HSV exhibits latency, and therefore reactivation may occur. Clinical symptoms include skin ulcers / blisters, encephalitis, and multiorgan disease in immunocompromised patients. In selected patient groups, also testing HSV serology may guide prevention or treatment.

Syphilis is a treponeme with can result in a wide range of serious clinical sequaelae. This DNA PCR test is most useful in diagnosing primary infection. All suspected cases should be discussed with a sexual health specialist.
Reference range: 

Not applicable

Synonyms or keywords: 
Treponema pallidum DNA, HSV, herpes, cold sore
Qualitative test - Detected/Not Detected
Sample type and Volume required: 
Genital swabs using a standard viral swab in Universal Transport Medium (UTM). Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), for Syphilis only, in sterile universal container with no added fluids or transport medium.
Turnaround time: 
3 working days
Special sample instructions: 

Please consider HSV VZV PCR for non-genital samples.

Storage and transport: 
Place labelled sample in a sealed sample bag and send to Central Specimen Reception (CSR). Samples should be sent to CSR promptly as the sensitivity of assays that detect RNA/DNA depend on sample quality/integrity. Please store samples in a refrigerator if there is a delay in sending samples to CSR.
Infection Sciences Department at St Thomas' Hospital
020 7188 8008
St Thomas' Hospital
North Wing - 5th Floor
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7EH
Core opening hours: Monday-Friday 0900-1730

For clinical advice or interpretation of results, please contact the laboratory in the first instance.

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Last updated: 07/06/2021