Home Facts Can Lyme Disease Be Detected By A Blood Test

Can Lyme Disease Be Detected By A Blood Test

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Lyme Disease Test Western Blot

Lyme Disease Serologic Testing

Labs performing a Western blot use electricity to separate proteins called antigens into bands. The read-out from the Western blot looks like a bar code. The lab compares the pattern produced by running the test with your blood to a template pattern representing known cases of Lyme disease. If your blot has bands in the right places, and the right number of bands, it is positive.

The CDC requires 5 out of 10 bands for a positive test result. However, because some bands on the Western blot are more significant than others your doctor may decide you have Lyme disease even if your Western blot does not have the number of bands or specific bands recommended by the CDC. Different laboratories use different methods and criteria for interpreting the test, so you can have a positive test result from one lab and a negative test result from another.

For a comprehensive explanation of the western blot test, download Understanding Western Blot Lyme disease test.

The chart below will help you understand how to interpret the western blot test.

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How Much Does A Lyme Disease Test Cost

The cost of a Lyme disease test depends on what type of test is performed an ELISA test or a combination of ELISA and western blot tests.

Averagely, the cost for an ELISA test for Lyme disease is in the vicinity of $120 or more. If you include a confirmation western blot test, it can attract an additional $130 or more. More details on pricing can be referenced on our website.

Although an ELISA test might come back negative, it is best to combine it with a western blot test because not everyone shows the rash or bulls eye symptoms of Lyme disease.

After a successful diagnosis and treatment, it is equally important to do a follow-up test for Lyme disease years later to be sure that any similar flu-like symptoms are something else and not the same disease reoccurring.

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Getting An Initial Screening

  • 1Discuss your symptoms with your doctor. When you talk to your doctor, let them know exactly what symptoms youve been experiencing and for how long. Let your doctor know the date you were bitten, and how long after the bite each symptom occurred.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Academy of Family PhysiciansOrganization devoted to improving the health of patients, families, and communitiesGo to source
  • There are many varied symptoms of Lyme disease, and each patient may not get all of them. Describe any differences in your mental or physical condition since you were bitten by the tick, even if you dont think the difference is related.
  • Even if youve experienced no symptoms, its still possible that youve contracted Lyme disease. Dont be afraid to insist on an initial screening to rule it out if its something that worries you.
  • 2Have a blood sample taken. The standard initial screening test is an enzyme-linked immunoassay blood test. It measures antibodies produced by your immune system to combat harmful substances. This test is similar to blood tests you would take to identify allergies.XTrustworthy SourceMedlinePlusCollection of medical information sourced from the US National Library of MedicineGo to source
  • Your blood sample will be sent to a laboratory and the blood will be introduced to a testing solution. If the antibodies produced to fight Lyme disease are present, the solution will change color.
  • The Blood Tests Can Have False Positives

    Lyme Disease Diagnosis

    The blood tests can trigger false positives, suggesting that you have the disease when you really dont. This can happen in up to one out of four tests.

    This can lead to unnecessary treatment with antibiotics. These drugs are usually safe, but they sometimes cause side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight. In rare cases, they can even cause dangerous allergic reactions.

    Using too many antibiotics can also lead to the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. This means that bacteria in your body may get stronger and more difficult to treat with antibiotics in the future.

    A false positive can also lead to more unneeded blood tests, urine tests, X-rays, and doctor visits.

    If you have a false positive, you may not get treated for the real cause of your pain. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that causes joint pain. It can lead to permanent and severe joint damage if you do not start taking the right medicines as early as possible.

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    Cdc Supports The Development Of New Tests

    New tests may be developed as alternatives to one or both steps of the two-step process. Before CDC will recommend new tests, they must be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration . For more details, see: Recommendations for Test Performance and Interpretation from the Second National Conference on Serologic Diagnosis of Lyme Disease.

    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. UKHSA 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.

    UKHSA runs a tick surveillance scheme and is happy to receive ticks for species identification and to monitor tick distribution.

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    Is Treatment 100% Effective

    Scientists are divided on this topic. Some studies suggest that that even long-term antibiotics may not completely clear infection dogs may get sick again at some point after antibiotic treatment is stopped. Other studies suggest that complete clearance of infection is possible with antibiotic treatment. Further research is required to answer this question.

    Contributors: Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM Kristiina Ruotsalo, DVM, DVSc, Dip ACVP Margo S. Tant, BSc, DVM, DVSc

    Lyme Disease Blood Test Results Fully Explained

    Home #Lyme Disease Tests: Detects Borrelia Antibodies. Results in 2-5 days (USA)!

    The Lyme disease blood test is used to discover if someone who has the symptoms of a Borrelia burgdorferi infection actually has the bacteria in their bloodstream. Recent infections are much easier to detect and an IgM and IgG blood test will often be ordered as complimentary information gathering tools. This blood test does not always detect the presence of the disease, so patients that have persistent symptoms after having the test may be re-tested in a few weeks.

    If any of these tests come back as positive, then other samples will be used to track the stage of the disease to determine if it has reached the chronic infection stage. At this point, a medical provider will order a Western blot test to confirm the presence of Lyme disease.

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    What Abnormal Results Mean

    A positive ELISA result is abnormal. This means antibodies were seen in your blood sample. But, this does not confirm a diagnosis of Lyme disease. A positive ELISA result must be followed up with a Western blot test. Only a positive Western blot test can confirm the diagnosis of Lyme disease.

    For many people, the ELISA test remains positive, even after they have been treated for Lyme disease and no longer have symptoms.

    A positive ELISA test may also occur with certain diseases not related to Lyme disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

    Enzyme Immune Assay Testing:

    This test detects antibodies to the different kinds of bacteria that are known to cause symptoms of Lyme disease. Different strains of Borrelia are found in the USA and Europe but the tests are designed to detect all of the Borrelia that cause symptoms.

    The EIA is the first test performed as it is designed to be very sensitive . If the EIA test is negative for Lyme disease, this can be relied upon to exclude Lyme disease in the patient, especially if the sample is taken when symptoms have been present for several weeks.

    The disadvantage of the EIA is because it is very sensitive it can give false positive results. This means that the EIA test is reacting with something else present in the blood sample which is not related to Lyme disease. False positive EIA results can happen when there are infections with other bacteria or viruses, or in certain inflammatory /automimmune conditions. This is why a positive EIA test should be confirmed by a second test the Western Blot.

    In Ireland, 2.5% of over 4,800 people who were tested by the National Virus Reference Laboratory in a single year had a positive Lyme test result. In Europe, between 3- 5% of the general population show evidence of infection with Borrelia bacteria at some point in their lifetime while a study in Ireland previously found that the background rate of infection in the Irish population was 3.4%.

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    What Happens At Your Appointment

    The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.

    Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and theres not always an obvious rash.

    2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.

    You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.

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    Sample Types For Lyme Disease Testing

    Lyme Disease Diagnosis

    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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    How Do Patients Test Negative For Lyme Disease In Ireland But Test Positive For Lyme Disease In Another Country

    Laboratories in Ireland generally follow the laboratory testing recommendations of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention , the Infectious Disease Society of America , the European Federation of Neurological Societies and the British Infection Association .

    The antibody tests used in Ireland are made by commercial companies and meet strict quality criteria. Irish laboratories have their own quality assurance methods to make sure the tests are working correctly as well as being accredited by the Irish National Accreditation Body to perform the test correctly.

    Testing which is performed abroad may be performed in laboratories which have not met National or International Accreditation . In some cases they may use tests which are made in the laboratory rather than purchased from commercial companies. These tests may not have the same or consistent levels of quality as commercial tests which must meet specific European criteria called CE marking. These tests may be more likely to give a false positive result for those reasons.

    Some laboratories abroad do not use antibody tests like the EIA and western blot and instead will use other types of tests. For example, testing for levels of a specific white blood cell or lymphocyte transformation tests . These types of tests are not currently recommended by international groups such as the CDC, IDSA or BIA for a number of reasons:

  • There is not enough scientific evidence that they are suitable tests to diagnose Lyme disease.
  • What You Should Know About Lyme Disease

    If the symptoms of Lyme disease persist and there is no known cause for them, then consulting with a Lyme literate doctor may provide treatment progress. Many health insurance plans will not cover these consultations or tests, however, so proceed with caution.

    For those who are treated with antibiotics, a condition called PTLD occurs that mimics the symptoms of the disease for up to 6 months.

    In regions where Lyme disease is not prevalent, it is usually up to the patient to insist on receiving the Lyme disease blood test. Use this guide to speak with your doctor about your concerns and discuss what the results may mean for your health.

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    Can Infection Be Spread Directly From One Dog To Another Dog Or From My Dog To My Family

    Direct spread of Lyme disease from one dog to another dog has not been reported, even when infected and uninfected dogs have lived together for long periods.

    Spread of Lyme disease from dogs to people has not been reported either, but people are equally at risk for Lyme disease if they are bitten by an infected tick.

    Tbrf Can Cause A Negative Result

    Testing for Lyme DiseaseâWhat You Need to Know

    The disease Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever is caused by a similar but totally separate species of Borrelia to the bacterium that causes Lyme disease and also causes Lyme-like symptoms. However, if a patient with TBRF takes a Lyme disease test, the TBRF will not show up, causing the Lyme test to be negative even though the patient is still sick with an infection.

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    Nhs Lyme Disease Testing

    The procedure for Lyme disease testing used by the NHS in the UK is as follows:

    Before the test

    To order an NHS blood test for Lyme disease, your GP first needs to be convinced you have symptoms which could be Lyme disease. He or she will also ask if you have been bitten by a tick or have been to areas where a tick might have bitten you: this could add extra evidence of the possibility of Lyme disease.

    Bear in mind that:

  • For many people, the tick is long gone by the time they notice any Lyme disease symptoms.
  • Lyme disease symptoms can take a long time to appear.Symptoms take from 3 days to 3 months to develop after a bite.
  • You can catch Lyme disease anywhere in Britain.Some people believe that there are hotspots or Lyme endemic areas in the UK and may think the risk of Lyme disease is extremely low outside these areas. In reality, there are no data to tell us which regions of the UK may have more ticks than others, or what percentage of the ticks in any area may carry Lyme disease.
  • Ticks could be in any area with plants.It is sometimes claimed that ticks are only found in forests and overgrown countryside, but in fact they are also present in urban parks and gardens.
  • Local testing

    Different types of a type of test called an ELISA test are used in different testing laboratories around the country.

    If you live in an area where demand for Lyme disease tests is high, there may be a local laboratory which your blood may be sent to for initial testing using an ELISA test .

    Lyme Disease Blood Test Western Blot

    The Lyme disease blood test, western blot is used to detect antibodies specific for B burgdorferi.

    Also Known As: Borrelia burgdorferi Antibodies Lyme Disease Antibodies , Immunoblot

    Methodology: Western blot

    Preparation: No special preparation required.

    Test Results: 7-10 days. May take longer based on weather, holiday or lab delays.

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    Completion Of Lyme Disease Test Request Form

    Diagnostic samples must be submitted with a completed RIPLLyme disease test request form . Please use a single request form for each patient even when sending several samples.

    Please provide details of the sample type, patients symptoms and onset date, tick bite or exposure history and, if relevant, travel and treatment history. Symptom onset date is particularly important for interpretation of laboratory results.

    When sending CSF, please provide the cell count and total albumin, IgG and IgM levels for the CSF and serum pair, if available.

    Ideally the clinician who sees the patient should print out and complete the appropriate request form . Send the request to the local laboratory with the clinical sample along with a local laboratory request form, whether this is paper or electronic.

    The local laboratory should complete the senders information on the request form and then forward the completed form and sample to RIPL. Before sending samples, clinicians are advised to liaise with their local laboratory because local arrangements may vary.

    If only immunoblot confirmation is required because the local laboratory has already obtained a positive Lyme screening test result on the serum sample being submitted, tick the Line blot confirmation only box and write the positive screening test result below.