Type-specific serologic results may be inaccurate if not based on glycoprotein G (gG). Commercial tests based on crude antigen (Zeus Scientific, Raritan, NJ; Wampole Laboratories, Cranbury, NJ; DiaSorin, Stillwater, MN) and one using gG-1 and gG-2 (Focus Technologies, Cypress, CA) were compared with Western blot on serum samples from patients with culture-documented first symptomatic episodes of genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 (n = 17) or HSV-2 (n = 49) infection or recurrent genital episodes (HSV-1, 30; HSV-2, 49). Concordance with Western blot results was 56% for Zeus, 63% for Wampole, 52% to 54% for DiaSorin, and 83% for Focus. Sensitivity and specificity. respectively, for HSV-1 were 77% and 53% (Zeus), 91% and 35% (Wampole), 98% and 8% (DiaSorin), 94% and 70% (DiaSorin predominant antibody), and 83% and 90% (Focus); for HSV-2 they were 88% and 81% (Zeus), 92% and 83% (Wampole), 96% and 54% (DiaSorin), 38% and 98% (DiaSorin predominant antibody), and 98% and 96% (Focus). Type-specific serologic testing for HSV should be performed with gG-based tests for accurate diagnosis of symptomatic genital herpes.

Author notes

Sera and patient data were collected by Lawrence Corey, MD, and Anna Wald, MD, MPH. The study was supported, in part, by NIH Herpes Program AI-30731, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.