A rapid and sensitive cell culture test has been developed to detect herpes simplex virus (HSV) in women with genital herpes. The virus is cultured by inoculation and centrifugation of cell monolayers, and the virus inclusions are detected using an indirect immunofluorescence test. The test takes only 48 hours to complete compared with the conventional cell culture test, which may take up to eight days. Of a total of 2100 cervical specimens collected from unselected women attending a sexually transmitted diseases (STD) clinic and inoculated in parallel, HSV was isolated from 55 specimens by either or both tests. Of these 55 positive specimens, 54(98%) were positive by the rapid test but only 24(44%) by the conventional test (McNemars test; p less than 0.001).
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