[Evaluation of the method of DNA amplification (PCR, polymerase chain reaction) for diagnosis of superficial ocular herpes]

Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 1992 May;200(5):472-5.
[Article in French]


We evaluated the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as a diagnostic method in superficial corneoconjunctival herpes and compared it to viral culture. A total of 38 patients were included and divided into 3 groups according to the clinical aspect. Fourteen patients that had a typical clinical aspect for herpes served as reference to evaluate the method. Nine patients had atypical lesions (herpes-suspects) and 15 patients (13 foreign corneal bodies and 2 adenovirus keratoconjunctivitis) made up the control group. All culture positive cases were also positive with the PCR method (in total 10 cases). In the group of herpes-suspects, one case had both a positive viral culture and a positive PCR; four patients that responded well to antiviral therapy had a negative culture and a positive PCR and four patients were negative with both methods. In the control group two cases of foreign bodies were false-positive. As culture was not performed for these cases it is impossible to known if it was a contamination during the PCR procedure or if concomittant viral shedding occurred. Compared to viral culture, a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 87.5% was calculated. PCR seems to be a very sensitive diagnostic method having an acceptable specificity for the diagnosis of superficial ocular herpes simplex disease that proved useful in atypical cases.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Conjunctivitis, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Gene Amplification / genetics
  • Herpes Simplex / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Keratitis, Herpetic / diagnosis*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Simplexvirus / genetics