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A positive Tzanck test, showing three multinucleated giant cells ("Tzanck cells") in center.
|Purpose||diagnosis of varicella-zoster virus and herpes|
Tzanck cells (acantholytic cells) are found in:
- Unroof vesicle and scrape base w/ sterile №15 scalpel blade
- Smear onto clean glass slide
- Fix w/ gentle heat or air dry
- Fix w/ MeOH (Methanol)
- Stain w/ Giemsa, methylene blue or Wright’s stain
- Microscopic examination using oil immersion lens. (Look for multinucleate giant cells)
A modified test can be performed using proprietary agents which requires fewer steps and allows the sample to be fixed quicker.
- Folkers E, Oranje AP, Duivenvoorden JN, van der Veen JP, Rijlaarsdam JU, Emsbroek JA (August 1988). "Tzanck smear in diagnosing genital herpes". Genitourinary Medicine. 64 (4): 249–54. PMC 1194227. PMID 3169755.
- "The laboratory diagnosis of herpes simplex virus infections." Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol. 2005 Mar-Apr; 16(2): 92–98. PMC 2095011
- Pettit, Normal Microbiota of the Skin, ATSU School of Osteopathic Medicine Arizona, Lecture Slides. Jan 2013.
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