Are Test Results Accurate
When looking at your test results, itâs important to know that laboratory methods can have a significant impact on the outcome of Lyme disease antibody testing.
Analyzing blood samples for Borrelia antibodies is a technical process. In some cases, cross-reactivity can cause a positive result when you havenât actually had a Borrelia infection. Cross-reactivity is when antibodies to other infectious organisms are detected by the test as if they were antibodies to Borrelia.
The CDC has created standards for testing in order to reduce the chances of this kind of false positive result. Studies have found that results are most reliable in labs that use these CDC standards.
The timing of blood antibody testing can also affect accuracy because IgM and IgG antibodies develop at different rates. Taking the test too early after Borrelia exposure can lead to a false negative result even if you have an active infection.
Beyond antibody blood testing, many test methods marketed for Lyme disease are not proven to be accurate. The CDC recommends against the use of unvalidated tests, including the following:
- Urine tests such as urine antigen or PCR tests
- Blood testing with PCR or any laboratory method other than an enzyme immunoassay, immunofluorescence assay, or the Western Blot, also called immunoblot, method
- Cell culture, immunofluorescence staining, or cell sorting of Borrelia bacteria
- Lymphocyte transformation tests
- CD57 lymphocyte assays
When Not To Take This Lyme Disease Test
Do not take this Lyme disease antibody test if:
- You are experiencing a round rash after a tick bite, such as the typical bullseye rash associated with early Lyme disease. Seek immediate medical attention instead of taking this test. A round rash could be a sign of Lyme disease, and it’s best to consult a medical professional and receive treatment as soon as possible to help prevent complications associated with the disease.
- You suspect you might have been infected with Lyme disease bacteria less than 6 weeks ago . The antibodies detected by this test take several weeks to build up in your bloodstream, taking the test before 6 weeks have passed may result in a false negative.
- You havenât lived in or traveled to an area where Lyme disease occurs. Consider discussing any symptoms with your healthcare providerâinstead of taking this testâto help determine if youâve been exposed to a Lyme disease bacterium.
- Youâve previously received a Lyme disease diagnosis, was treated for the disease, and are still symptomatic. Consider discussing any new or ongoing symptoms with your healthcare provider instead of taking this test.
- You are currently being treated for Lyme disease infection or taking antibiotic treatment for other infections. Consider discussing any symptoms with your healthcare provider instead of taking this test.
Because interpreting Lyme disease test results can be difficult, weâve designed your test results to be easy to read and understand.
Lyme Disease And The Pulmonary System
Borrelia bacteria can infect many different areas ofthe body, taking a toll on the digestive system and central nervous system.Equally serious are invasions into the pulmonary system. The heart and lungsare obviously critical parts of the body to keep healthy, and although Lymedisease is usually non-fatal, any breach of respiratory defenses can lead tosevere health complications in patients, sometimes resulting in death.
Yet the signs and symptoms of Lyme-related respiratory problemsare often hard to pinpoint. As its a result of an overriding infection and notan issue with the pulmonary system in isolation, doctors can easilymisdiagnosis at this critical juncture. Here are three important ways that Lymecan damage the pulmonary organs.
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How Can You Prevent Lyme Disease
The best way to protect against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Check the detailed risk areas map to find out where infected ticks are most likely to be found. Remember, as tick populations spread, the risk of acquiring Lyme disease will occur outside these areas in the future. Ticks can be dispersed out of these areas by migratory birds so there is a low risk of being bitten by a tick outside of the known risk areas.
It is recommended that Canadians travelling to highly Lyme endemic areas of the US and Europe, apply permethrin treatments to their clothing or use clothing pre-treated with permethrin. These products can be obtained in some travel clinics or from outdoors retailers when in the US.
Ticks can be infected with more than one type of bacteria that can cause human illness. Guarding against tick bites will protect you from more than just Lyme disease.
Here are some ways to protect yourself if you venture into wooded or forested areas within risk areas for Lyme disease:
Can You Live A Normal Life With Lyme Disease
What do patients say?
Fontaine, a Lyme warrior, says the following: Yes, for the most part. But Lyme is a chronic, degenerative condition a multisystem inflammatory attack that must be intermittently battled on myriad fronts. There will be times of normality and times of distress. Peaks and valleys. Its critically important, then, that you guard your well-being and take good care of your body. Prioritize this and dont feel self-indulgent.
Another Lyme patient said: Think of food as medicine. Become better-informed in this regard, and always be mindful of what you eat. Poor diet, stress and a sedentary lifestyle can wreak havoc. And being attentive to mental health is every bit as important. Be kind to yourself and try to cultivate patience. Attitude and emotions color everything.
Andrea, who has been battling Lyme for over a decade, says: Chronic illness can be highly inconsistent symptoms-wise. Symptoms also vary from patient to patient and therefore can be additionally stressful. Recognizing this will help you move through difficult episodes and forward on your path to healing. I have started writing a blog to track and share my experience. That way I can inform, comfort, and help other Lymies in the online community. I also know of many that keep a private journal, which may be therapeutic in your case. I think, above all, its important not to isolate yourself.
Originally posted 2018-05-04 13:43:34.
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Management Of Individuals Without Symptoms Following A Tick Bite
Diagnostic testing is not recommended for individuals who do not develop any symptoms suggestive of Lyme disease after a tick bite.
Some commercial companies offer services to test removed ticks for the presence of the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. PHE does not provide such tick-testing services. The results of such tests should not be used to inform diagnosis or treatment. A positive result does not mean that the infected tick will have passed on the bacteria there are many factors that determine whether Lyme disease results from the bite of an infected tick. A negative result may not be technically valid and could give false assurance, as it does not exclude the possibility that another tick elsewhere on the body has been missed by the patient.
PHE runs a tick surveillance scheme and is happy to receive ticks for species identification and to monitor tick distribution.
Lyme Disease In Europe And Asia
Lyme disease can also occur in Europe and Asia, where Borrelia garinii and Borrelia afzelii are most commonly found.
Ticks infected with a Lyme disease bacterium can be found in woodlands across the European continent from northern Turkey to northern Sweden. However, Lyme disease is considered endemic in central Europe, where the following countries have the highest tick infection rates: Austria, Czech Republic, southern Germany,Switzerland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. In Europe, Lyme disease is primarily transmitted by the castor bean tick.
Lyme disease has been reported throughout Asia, as well, such as in Russia, Mongolia, northern China, Japan, and Koreaâ âthough infection from a Lyme disease bacterium appears to be relatively uncommon in these areas. In Asia, Lyme disease is transmitted by the taiga tick .
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When Should I Get A Lyme Disease Test
Lyme disease testing is only recommended under certain circumstances. In general, antibody tests are conducted when you have symptoms of Lyme disease and a confirmed or likely exposure to ticks that are known to carry Borrelia. In these cases, the timing of testing is important. Because antibodies may not form for a few weeks, testing soon after a tick bite or development of a skin rash may cause misleading results.
Antibody testing is not advised if you do not have symptoms of Lyme disease, including for people who live in areas that are confirmed to have the types of ticks that can transmit Borrelia. Testing is also not recommended if you have general symptoms, such as joint pain, but no likely exposure to Borrelia-carrying ticks.
If you have had a tick bite and/or symptoms of Lyme disease, you should talk with your doctor who can address whether Lyme disease antibody testing is appropriate in your situation.
Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions
If you have not done so already, remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers.
The chances that you might get Lyme disease from a single tick bite depend on the type of tick, where you acquired it, and how long it was attached to you. Many types of ticks bite people in the U.S., but only blacklegged ticks transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Furthermore, only blacklegged ticks in the highly endemic areas of the northeastern and north central U.S. are commonly infected. Finally, blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease. This is why its so important to remove them promptly and to check your body daily for ticks if you live in an endemic area.
If you develop illness within a few weeks of a tick bite, see your health care provider right away. Common symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash, fever, body aches, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Ticks can also transmit other diseases, so its important to be alert for any illness that follows a tick bite.
Moody KD, Barthold SW, 1991. Relative infectivity of Borrelia burgdorferi in Lewis rats by various routes of inoculation.external iconAm J Trop Med Hyg 44: 135-9.
There are no reports of Lyme disease being spread to infants through breast milk. If you are diagnosed with Lyme disease and are also breastfeeding, make sure that your doctor knows this so that he or she can prescribe an antibiotic thats safe for use when breastfeeding.
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So When Do You Need Blood Tests For Lyme Disease
In some cases, you can have Lyme disease without the rash. Or you may not see the rash before it goes away on its own.
In these cases, your doctor should ask you about your medical history and do a thorough physical exam. Your doctor should look for these signs that you might have Lyme disease:
- You were in an area with ticks and Lyme disease.
- You also have fever or redness, warmth, and swelling in one or a few joints at a time usually the knees, shoulders, or wrists.
Other symptoms can occur later on. Talk to your doctor about testing and treatment choices.
This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.
Sample Types For Lyme Disease Testing
For routine Lyme disease serological testing, you must send a serum sample .
For testing for neurological Lyme disease, you must send paired CSF and serum samples taken on the same day. If possible, please provide CSF cell count and total albumin, IgG and IgM values. If albumin, IgG and IgM measurements are not available, RIPL will make arrangements for these measurements at additional cost.
PCR testing is available. We recommend that specialists call RIPL to discuss appropriate sample types for PCR. These may include joint fluid, biopsy tissue, CSF and EDTA plasma. Please submit biopsies as fresh tissue in a sterile container, ideally with a drop of sterile saline to prevent the tissue drying out.
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Benefits And Downsides Of At
When considering at-home Lyme disease testing, itâs important to consider its distinct benefits and downsides.
Some of the primary benefits of at-home testing include:
- Testing on your schedule: With an at-home test, you can take the test at a time thatâs convenient for you and without the need to make an appointment or go to a medical office.
- Simple process: Most test kits are designed to streamline the process of preparing your test sample so that itâs quick and efficient.
- Fingerstick blood draw: For people who are uncomfortable with having their blood taken from their vein with a needle, a fingerstick blood draw may be preferable.
- Direct pricing: Although you will have to pay out-of-pocket, the total cost of an at-home test is usually transparent before making a purchase.
Some of the potential downsides of at-home Lyme disease testing include:
What Is The Most Accurate Test For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is more common than many people think. Figures from the Center for Disease Control suggest that roughly 300,000 Lyme disease cases occur every year in the US.
The numbers are alarming, but it gets worse as finding accurate diagnostic tests can be challenging. Although the disease is treatable, it is nearly impossible to tackle it effectively if it is not diagnosed accurately and early enough.
Late detection can lead to severe health problems such as arthritis, heart blockage, and inability to concentrate, among other problems.
Given the prevalence and seeming elusiveness of the disease, some of the logical questions concerned persons would ask are: what is the most accurate test for Lyme disease? And when should I get checked for Lyme disease? This article will proffer answers to these and many other related questions. But first, a little background would be in order.
How It Is Done
The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with alcohol.
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
- Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
- Put pressure on the site and then put on a bandage.
How Do You Know If You Have Lyme Disease
The answer to the question Can I testmyself for Lyme disease? must be answered in two distinct parts. Diagnosticmethods for both acute and chronic Lyme disease are very different, with thelatter being a lot more problematic than the former. First, the good news:acute Lyme disease is relatively easy to self-diagnose in most cases, at leastin theory. Lyme is spread through the saliva of ticks, which transfer the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria to thebloodstreams of their human hosts. The acute stage of the disease begins soonafter a bite symptoms similar to the flu appear, although they are not alwayssevere. But the critical symptom for patients is the distinctive bullseye rashthat appears at the site of the bite. This takes the form of a circle inside alarger circle, and is one of the prime signs of Lyme disease. If you find this,you can almost assuredly self-diagnose Lyme, although of course you should alsosee a doctor right away with your concerns.
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The Most Common Lyme Disease Blood Tests
The two most common diagnostic tests for Lyme disease are the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and the Western blot. These Lyme disease tests allow physicians to visualize the reaction between antibodies in an infected persons blood to specific antigens or parts of the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
In the case of the Western blot, for example, antigens are separated by size and then transferred onto a membrane strip. When an antibody reacts with an antigen on the strip, that band will turn dark purple. For test results to be positive, a specific combination of bands on the membrane strip must be present.
Negative C6 Elisa On Serum
Early clinical Lyme disease in the form of erythema migrans with associated history of a tick bite should be treated empirically. There is no need for testing unless there are further symptoms.
A negative ELISA result in the early stages of Lyme disease does not exclude infection. If acute Lyme disease is suspected but serology results are negative, we recommend that the test is repeated in 4-6 weeks with a fresh sample to look for seroconversion.
In patients with long term symptoms a negative ELISA test usually excludes Lyme disease as a cause of these symptoms. Information on differential diagnosis for patients with persistent symptoms and negative Lyme disease serology results is available.
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What Does An At
Once ordered, an at-home Lyme disease test kit is delivered to your home, where you can collect the sample privately and comfortably. The kit will include the instructions, the sample collector, and the box to return the sample.
Once the results are ready, you will receive them in your email or through the company’s online portal, or they will be sent to your doctors office.
Question 6 Can Serologic Testing Detect Lyme Disease Immediately After Infection
No, not immediately. Lyme disease develops in stages: the early stage, which is divided into early localized infection, early disseminated, and then a late disseminated infection.1 Spirochetemia occurs early, with widespread dissemination through tissue and body fluids. However, antibodies usually take at least 2 weeks to develop, so patients may be seronegative within 2 weeks of a suspected tick bite.1-3 The sensitivity of serologic testing increases markedly with the progression of B burgdorferi infection from early to late Lyme disease.
Identification of Borrelia species DNA in the blood by polymerase chain reaction may be useful in the first two weeks of infection.1
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