A patient is seen in the clinic for multiple skin lesions that are indicative of herpes zoster (shingles). The physician asks the nurse to confirm diagnosis by performing which of the following diagnostic tests?

Microscopic smear test


• The diagnosis of shingles is generally that of clinical presentation. Routine lab work is not required for the diagnosis

• A skin or wound culture can be done, but the growth rate of herpes zoster is too slow to make a timely diagnosis. Rapid diagnosis of shingles can be accomplished by using direct fluorescent antibody on scrapings from active vesicular skin lesions that are not crusted

• Serum antibody tests may be performed, but are not as accurate as smear tests

• Blood cultures are not needed, as this is not a systemic infection

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