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CDC National VZV Laboratory

The CDC National VZV Laboratory operates within the Division of Viral and Diseases of the National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases. This laboratory supports surveillance efforts toward monitoring the impact of varicella vaccination in the U.S. population, outbreak investigations, and confirmation of disease, vaccine adverse events, varicella-zoster vaccine (VZV) breakthrough infections with wild-type virus, and disease susceptibility.

The CDC National VZV Laboratory can provide several types of VZV-specific testing free-of-charge to state and local public health departments who require confirmatory evidence for VZV infection or confirmation of atypical herpes zoster cases, and to physicians and scientists participating in various epidemiologic and laboratory-based studies.

Specimens may be submitted for suspected vaccine-related adverse events, including herpes zoster in a person who received varicella or zoster vaccine, a varicella-like rash with more than 50 lesions 7 to 42 days after varicella vaccination, any serious adverse event (pneumonia, ataxia, encephalitis) occurring after vaccination, and suspected secondary transmission.

See Collecting Specimens for Varicella Zoster Virus (Chickenpox & Shingles) Testing.

Contact Information

For more information on varicella zoster virus specimen collection, storage, and handling, please contact:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National VZV Laboratory
1600 Clifton Road, NE
Mailstop G-18 (Building 18, Room 6-134—for FedEx shipments)
Atlanta, GA 30333
Phone: (404) 639-0066
Fax: 404-639-4056


Also see: Laboratory services provided through the CDC National VZV Laboratory [4 pages]


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