Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Culture Without Typing

Test ID: 


CPT code:



Nontyping Culture
Viral Culture, Herpes Simplex

Clinical Use:

A clinical diagnosis of HSV infection is based on identifying characteristic multiple vescicles on an erythematous base. HSV culture is useful in verifying HSV is present within the vesicles. Rapid culture allows for the initiation of therapy that may diminish the severity of symptoms and shorten the length of symptoms.

Test Information:

Infectious HSV is rarely present in CSF during encephalitis, resulting in a poor recovery by culture (<5% in adults, <50% in children). Studies have shown a >98% detection of HSV DNA in CSF by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and this method is now considered the standard for diagnosis of HSV encephalitis. For HSV PCR testing, please request test 138651. HSV is occasionally isolated from the CSF of patients with HSV 2 meningitis and of neonates with congenital herpes, and from urine of patients with primary genital HSV infections concurrent with cystitis.

Specimen Type:

Vesicular fluid, ulcerated lesions, pharyngeal and throat swabs, urine, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), autopsy and biopsy material, eye exudates, and vaginal swabs

Requested Volume: 

Swab in viral transport medium, 1 mL fluid, 0.5 g tissue in transport medium

Container Type: 

Viral, Chlamydia, or Mycoplasma culture transport, or other appropriate transport medium (for swabs); body fluids and tissue samples may be submitted in viral transport media or in a sterile leakproof container.


Submit one specimen per test requested. Specify the exact specimen source/origin (eg, genital lesion). Indicate a specific test number on the request form. Check expiration date of transport; do not use expired devices.

Specimen is best collected within the first three days following the appearance of a lesion but no more than seven days. After collection, remove the cap from the transport medium tube, and insert the swab aseptically into the transport tube and break the swab shaft. Replace the cap so that the swab will not interfere with closure and allow the tube to leak. Label the tube with patient identification and transport specimen to the laboratory at 4°C.

Storage Instructions:

Maintain specimen at 4°C.

Rejection Criteria

Bacterial swab specimen; specimen received in grossly leaking transport container; dry specimen; specimen submitted in fixative or additive; specimen received in expired transport media or incorrect transport devices; inappropriate specimen transport conditions; specimen received after prolonged delay in transport (usually more than 72 hours); specimen stored or transported at room temperature; wooden shaft swab in transport device; calcium alginate swab; unlabeled specimen or name discrepancy between specimen and request label

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MCI Diagnostic

Providing top patient care with fast results. 

7018 South Utica Avenue

Tulsa, Oklahoma 74136

Hours of Operation

Mon – Sat: 7AM-11PM

Sun: 7AM-3PM

Government Contract

Mon – Sat: 7AM-11PM

Sun: 7AM-3PM


Mon – Sat: 7AM-11PM

Sun: 7AM-3PM

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