CDC National VZV Laboratory

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) laboratory testing information applies to testing and diagnosis of primary VZV infection (varicella) and reactivation (herpes zoster). The National VZV Laboratory performs 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. The laboratory also conducts free testing for physicians and scientists participating in various epidemiologic and laboratory-based studies.

Specimens can also be submitted for suspected vaccine-related adverse events, including:

  • Rash occurring 7 to 42 days after vaccination
  • Suspected secondary transmission of the vaccine virus
  • Herpes zoster in a vaccinated person
  • Any serious adverse event.

See Collecting Specimens for Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) Testing.

Providers should contact their health department to coordinate sending specimens to CDC for testing. If there are questions about testing methods, specimen collection, or handling, providers should consult with their state health department or the National VZV Laboratory.

Contact Information

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

National VZV Laboratory
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
Tel: 404-639-2178 or 404-754-0114

Shipping Information

Refer to the Infectious Disease Laboratories Test Directory entry for each test.

See links below for instructions on acceptable specimen types, specimen collection, storage, and shipment, as well as points of contact for VZV testing at CDC.