Herpesvirus 6 Antibodies (IgG,IgM)

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The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Herpesvirus 6 Antibodies IgGIgM

Herpesvirus 6 IgG

Herpesvirus 6 IgM


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The Herpesvirus 6 Antibodies (IgG,IgM) test contains 1 test with 3 biomarkers.

Brief Description: The Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies test is a serological test that detects the presence of specific antibodies (IgG and IgM) in the blood against the Human Herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6). HHV-6 is primarily known to cause roseola, a common illness of infants and young children.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When and Why a Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies Test May Be Ordered

A Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies test may be ordered:

  1. Suspected Active Infection: When an individual, especially an infant or young child, presents with symptoms consistent with roseola, such as a sudden high fever followed by a characteristic skin rash.

  2. Past Infection Evaluation: To determine if a person has been previously infected and thus might be immune, especially in cases where the disease history is uncertain.

  3. Immunocompromised Patients: In individuals with compromised immune systems, HHV-6 reactivation or primary infection can cause more severe symptoms. The test may be ordered to investigate the cause of unexplained symptoms in such patients.

What the Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies Test Checks For

The test checks for the presence of:

  • IgM antibodies, which are produced soon after an infection. Their presence typically indicates a recent or active infection.

  • IgG antibodies, which appear later after the initial infection and remain in the bloodstream for life, providing immunity against the virus. Their presence indicates past exposure or immunity.

Other Lab Tests Ordered Alongside Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies Test

When an HHV-6 IgG/IgM test is ordered, it's often part of a broader evaluation for viral infections and related conditions. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside it:

  1. Complete Blood Count (CBC) with Differential:

    • Purpose: To evaluate overall blood health, including white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Infections can cause changes in the CBC, such as increased white blood cells or lymphocytes. It’s especially useful in cases of suspected reactivation in immunocompromised patients.
  2. Liver Function Test:

    • Purpose: To assess liver health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Viral infections, including those caused by HHV-6, can affect liver function, resulting in elevated liver enzymes.
  3. Immunoglobulin Levels (IgG, IgA, IgM, IgE):

    • Purpose: To measure the levels of various types of immunoglobulins.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To assess the overall function of the immune system, which can be relevant in the context of viral infections and for immunocompromised patients.
  4. Serology for CMV, EBV, HSV-1 and HSV-2:

    • Purpose: To test for other herpesviruses that can cause similar symptoms or are relevant in the clinical context.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To identify co-infections or differentiate HHV-6 infection from other herpesvirus infections.
  5. CD4 and CD8 T-Cell Counts:

    • Purpose: To evaluate the number and ratio of CD4 and CD8 T cells, crucial components of the immune system.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To assess immune function, particularly in immunocompromised individuals or those with HIV/AIDS.
  6. Qualitative PCR for HHV-6:

    • Purpose: To check for HHV-6 DNA in the blood.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To detect active HHV-6 infection, particularly in cases of suspected viral reactivation or severe infection.
  7. Comprehensive Metabolic Panel:

    • Purpose: To assess overall metabolic status including kidney function, electrolytes, and protein levels.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To evaluate the general health status and monitor for complications related to the infection or its treatment.

These tests, when ordered alongside a Herpesvirus 6 IgG/IgM Antibodies test, provide a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s viral infection status and immune function. They are important for diagnosing HHV-6 infection, assessing the risk of complications, particularly in immunocompromised individuals, and guiding treatment decisions. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual’s symptoms, medical history, and overall health status.

Conditions or Diseases that Require a Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies Test

The test is primarily associated with:

  • Roseola (Exanthem subitum): A common disease in infants and young children characterized by a sudden high fever followed by a rash.

  • Other Conditions in Immunocompromised Individuals: In people with weakened immune systems, HHV-6 can cause conditions like encephalitis, hepatitis, or pneumonia.

Usage of Results from Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies Test by Health Care Providers

Healthcare providers interpret the results as follows:

  1. Presence of IgM and Absence of IgG: Suggests a recent infection.

  2. Presence of both IgM and IgG: Indicates an active or very recent infection.

  3. Presence of IgG only: Indicates past exposure and likely immunity.

  4. Absence of both IgM and IgG: Suggests that the individual has not been exposed to the virus or the body hasn't produced a detectable level of antibodies yet.

Healthcare providers use this information to guide diagnosis, inform about the prognosis, and determine if any further interventions or treatments are necessary.

Most Common Questions About the Herpesvirus 6 Antibodies (IgG,IgM) test:

Purpose and Clinical Indications

Why is the Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies test ordered?

The Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies test is ordered to determine if an individual has been exposed to the Herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and to differentiate between a recent and past infection. IgM antibodies usually suggest a recent infection, while IgG antibodies indicate a past infection or previous exposure.

What conditions are associated with Herpesvirus 6?

Herpesvirus 6 is known to cause roseola in infants and young children, which is characterized by high fever and a characteristic rash. In adults, it may be associated with several conditions, including viral reactivation in immunocompromised individuals, encephalitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and possibly some autoimmune disorders.

Interpretation of Results

What does a positive IgM result in the Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies test indicate?

A positive IgM result in the Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies test indicates a recent or acute infection with HHV-6.

If only the IgG antibody is positive in the Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies test, what does it imply?

A positive IgG result, with a negative IgM result, suggests a past infection or exposure to HHV-6. The individual is likely immune to the virus due to the previous infection.

Implications and Medical Management

How can the results of the Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies test influence medical treatment?

The results can guide medical management in various ways. For instance, if a patient has a positive IgM result and is exhibiting neurological symptoms, the physician might consider HHV-6 as a potential cause for encephalitis. In immunocompromised individuals, detecting a recent infection may prompt antiviral therapy or close monitoring.

Do individuals with a positive IgG result for the Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies test need any follow-up?

Typically, individuals with a positive IgG result indicating past exposure or infection don't need any specific follow-up regarding HHV-6, unless they exhibit symptoms suggesting viral reactivation or if they are immunocompromised.

Special Considerations

Is it possible to have a reactivation of Herpesvirus 6 in individuals who test positive for IgG antibodies?

Yes, similar to other herpesviruses, HHV-6 can remain dormant in the body and may reactivate, especially in situations where the immune system is suppressed, such as in organ transplant recipients or individuals with HIV/AIDS.

Post-Test Management

Are there specific medications used to treat Herpesvirus 6 infections if the Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies test indicates an active infection?

Yes, certain antiviral medications, such as ganciclovir or foscarnet, may be used to treat HHV-6 infections, especially in severe or complicated cases or in immunocompromised individuals.

If a child had roseola previously and the Herpesvirus 6 IgG IgM Antibodies test indicates a positive IgG result, is there any risk for the same infection again?

If a child had roseola due to HHV-6 and subsequently has a positive IgG result, they are generally considered immune to another infection by the same virus. However, reactivation or infection by a different strain cannot be completely ruled out, although it's relatively rare.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

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