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Open Access Research article

Comparison of the sensitivity of a 24 h-shell vial assay, and conventional tube culture, in the isolation of Herpes simplex virus – 1 from corneal scrapings

Sreedharan Athmanathan1*, Sesha Reddy Bandlapally1 and Gullapalli N Rao2

Author affiliations

1 Jhaveri Microbiology Center, Hyderabad Eye Research Foundation, L. V. Prasad Eye Institute, L. V. Prasad Marg, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad – 500 034, A. P., India

2 Cornea services, L. V. Prasad Eye Institute, L. V. Prasad Marg, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad – 500 034, A. P., India

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Citation and License

BMC Clinical Pathology 2002, 2:1  doi:10.1186/1472-6890-2-1

Published: 6 March 2002

Abstract

Background

Herpes simplex keratitis is a sight threatening ocular infection. A rapid and specific diagnosis is essential for the institution of specific antiviral therapy and to avoid complications that can arise from misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment. Though a variety of techniques are available, isolation of Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) in culture provides the most reliable and specific method, and is considered as the gold standard in laboratory diagnosis of herpes simplex keratitis. We report a comparative study of the sensitivity of a 24 h-shell vial assay and conventional tube culture in the isolation of HSV-1 from corneal scrapings.

Methods

A total of 74 corneal scrapings obtained from 74 patients with a clinical suspicion of herpes simplex keratitis submitted for the isolation of HSV-1, were simultaneously inoculated into shell vial and tube cultures employing the vero cell line. Shell vial and tube cultures were terminated at 24 h and fifth day respectively. Isolation of HSV-1 was confirmed employing an indirect immunofluorescence assay.

Results

HSV-1 was isolated from 24/74 (32.4%) specimens employing both the methods. Sensitivity of both the techniques were found to be similar (20/24, 83.3%) (P = 1.0).

Conclusion

A 24 h-shell vial assay is a rapid alternative technique in comparison to the time consuming conventional tube cultures for the isolation of HSV-1, especially from corneal scrapings for the laboratory diagnosis of herpes simplex keratitis.