Varicella-Zoster Virus Antibody
Does this test have other names?
Serum varicella immunoglobulin G antibody level
What is this test?
This test looks for antibodies in your blood that your body makes against the varicella-zoster
The varicella-zoster virus is very contagious. It can cause two health problems: chickenpox
and shingles. When you become infected with the virus for the first time, it causes
chickenpox. After having chickenpox, most people become immune to the virus for the
rest of their life. They can't get chickenpox again.
But after the first illness, the virus becomes dormant and "hides" in nerves in your
body. Later in your life, the virus can become active again. It causes a painful rash
called shingles, or herpes zoster.
Why do I need this test?
You may need this test if your healthcare provider needs to find out whether you are
likely to get a varicella infection. This information can help healthcare workers
who may work with patients who have the virus.
This test can also help your provider find out whether you have chickenpox if the
diagnosis isn't clear. Symptoms of chickenpox include:
The rash lasts for about two weeks. It can spread until all the spots on the skin
have crusted over.
What other tests might I have along with this test?
You aren't likely to need any other tests.
What do my test results mean?
Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used
for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem.
Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.
If testing is done to see if you are at risk of developing an infection and it finds
varicella-related immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies in your blood, it means you are
immune. You have had a chickenpox infection or have been immunized successfully.
If your healthcare provider suspects that you have chickenpox, your IgG levels can
mean you have an infection if they rise over several weeks. In these cases, this test
is usually needed only if your provider is unsure about the diagnosis after examining
How is this test done?
The test is done with a blood sample. A needle is used to draw blood from a vein in
your arm or hand.
Does this test pose any risks?
Having a blood test with a needle carries some risks. These include bleeding, infection,
bruising, and feeling lightheaded. When the needle pricks your arm or hand, you may
feel a slight sting or pain. Afterward, the site may be sore.
What might affect my test results?
Having a history of chickenpox or vaccine against the disease can affect your results.
How do I get ready for this test?
You don't need to prepare for this test. Be sure your healthcare provider knows about
all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines
that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use.