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Detection of Herpes Simplex Virus DNA in Human Tear Film by the Polymerase Chain Reaction

American Journal of Ophthalmology
DOI: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)73071-5
  • Biology
  • Medicine


We investigated the use of the polymerase chain reaction for detecting genomes of herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster virus, and cytomegalovirus from tear film of patients with clinically diagnosed herpes simplex virus keratitis. Using the polymerase chain reaction with a herpes simplex virus detection sensitivity adjusted to 1.0 plaque-forming units/ml, we detected herpes simplex virus genomic sequences in 12 of 12 epithelial keratitis specimens, two of six stromal keratitis specimens, but in none of 20 normal specimens. Neither varicella-zoster virus nor cytomegalovirus genomic sequences were detected in any sample. These results suggest that polymerase chain reaction quickly performed with reduced sensitivity is useful as a diagnostic tool for confirming clinical observations.

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