Diagnosis of Shingles

  • Shingles is diagnosed by its pain and its specific rash. To confirm that you have shingles, your doctor may scrape some skin from a blister or collect some of its fluid 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 three to several weeks to obtain the results of some of these tests.
  • References

    NINDS shingles information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/shingles/shingles.htm. Updated January 10, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2013.

    Shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/q---t/shingles. Accessed May 30, 2013.

    Shingles (herpes zoster). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/overview.html. Updated January 10, 2011. Accessed May 30, 2013.

    Stankus SJ, Dlugopolski M, et al. Management of herpes zoster (shingles) and postherpetic neuralgia. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(8). Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0415/p2437.html. Accessed May 30, 2013.

    Zoster. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 20, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2013.

    Revision Information

    • Reviewer: David Horn, MD
    • Review Date: 05/2014
    • Update Date: 05/17/2014
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