• The information given here is intended for use by healthcare professionals. Please see Lab Tests Online-UK for more general advice, links and background
  • This test is used to distinguish Herpes simplex type I and Type II lesions.
  • This investigation is referred to the regional reference laboratory if differentiation from Varicella zoster virus vesicles is required.
  • This investigation is also suitable for the diagnosis of primary herpetic gingivo-stomatitis in children

Sample requirements

  • Ano - genital and oral swabs.
  • Other swab types (e.g. Skin) would be tested out of scope.

Check swab expiry date before use - (Date is in YYMMDD format)

The vesicle should be de-roofed and the swab ground into the base of the lesion

Place swab into virus transport tube

For gingivo-stomatitis sample the buccal mucosa

Requesting and what to tell us:

Relevant clinical details and date of onset


Store at room temperature

Transport as soon as possible at ambient temperature

Turnaround time

Typically tested twice a week, so up to 4 days if tested in-house and may be up to 6 days if referred.