[en] Herpes simplex (HSV) and varicella-zoster (VZV) skin infections share so many histological similarities that distinguishing between them may prove to be impossible. We developed and characterized a new monoclonal antibody, VL8, IgG kappa isotype, directed to the VZV envelope glycoprotein gpI. Immunohistochemistry with VL8 appeared highly sensitive and specific on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsies and a clear-cut distinction between HSV and VZV infections was possible. The pattern of VL8 immunolabelling in VZV infections was strikingly different from that found in HSV infections studied with polyclonal antibodies to HSV I and II. Double immunolabelling revealed the VL8 positivity of sebaceous cells, endothelial cells, Mac 387-and CD68-positive monocyte-macrophages, and factor XIIIa-positive perivascular, perineural and interstitial dendrocytes. Intracytoplasmic VL8 labelling of endothelial cells and perivascular dendrocytes was found at the site of leukocytoclastic vasculitis.