Future Possibilities For Diagnostic Tools
NIAID-supported scientists have identified genome sequences for multiple strains of B. burgdorferi. Greater advances in diagnostics are anticipated as genetic information is combined with advances in microarray technology, imaging, and proteomics. These growing fields of science are expected to lead to improved diagnostic tools as well as provide new insights on the pathogenesis of Lyme disease. Examples of tools being developed with NIAID support include use of metabolomics to characterize new biomarkers of infection, next generation T-cell based measurements, and novel antigens for improved measurement of effective treatment.
Is Lyme Disease Curable
While there is no vaccine to prevent us from getting Lyme disease, it can be treated with antibiotics, and most people recover within a few weeks. However, some people can get what is known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, in which symptoms such as pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking can last for months.
How To Test For Lyme
Lyme disease testing is usually done with your blood or cerebrospinal fluid. For a Lyme disease blood test: A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial.
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How To Remove A Tick
Removing a tick is the same for humans and animals. Its important you do not crush or damage the tick because it could cause Lyme bacteria to pass from the tick into your bloodstream.
How to remove a tick.
Where Blacklegged Ticks Live
We continue to track where infected and uninfected blacklegged ticks are being found.
Public Health Ontarios Lyme disease page has a map that shows areas in Ontario where they estimate you are more likely to find blacklegged ticks.
Blacklegged ticks are spreading to new areas of the province because of climate change. They can also spread by traveling on birds and deer. While the probability is low, it is possible to find an infected tick almost anywhere in Ontario.
Ticks are most active in spring and summer, but can be found at any time of the year when the temperature is above freezing.
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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.
What Is The Test For Lyme Disease
. Keeping this in view, is there a blood test for Lyme disease?
A blood test for antibodies to the bacteria is the preferred test for the diagnosis of Lyme disease. However, if a person has central nervous system symptoms, such as meningitis, then IgM, IgG, and western blot testing may sometimes be performed on cerebrospinal fluid .
Also Know, what is the first sign of Lyme disease? Early signs and symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes — all common in the flu. In up to 80% of Lyme infections, a rash is one of the first symptoms, Aucott says.
Regarding this, how long does it take to test for Lyme disease?
A Lyme disease test detects antibodies to the Lyme disease bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi in the blood. Test results are usually available in 1 to 2 weeks.
How much does a Lyme disease test cost?
The blood tests for Lyme disease cost more than $200, in addition to the cost of your doctor’s appointment. And if you have a false positive, you may also waste money on unneeded treatments.
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Testing For Lyme Disease: Follow The Steps
Barbara J.B. Johnson, PhD
Hello, I am Dr. Barbara Johnson. I am a microbiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and I am pleased to speak with you today as part of the on Medscape about serologic testing for Lyme disease. Serology is currently the only type of diagnostic test for Lyme disease approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Serologic tests are designed to detect antibodies that the immune system makes in response to an infectious organism, in this case the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Before testing a patient for Lyme disease, it is important to consider the likelihood that a patient is infected. Factors to consider are:
Symptoms: Does the patient have signs and symptoms consistent with the disease?
Geography: Has the patient been in an area where the disease occurs?
Behaviors: Does the patient have risk factors for exposure to ticks?
When testing for antibodies for Lyme disease, CDC recommends a 2-step testing process. In the first step, serum is tested using a highly sensitive but inadequately specific quantitative assay, most commonly an enzyme immunoassay, such as an ELISA. If this first test is negative, no further testing is indicated. If the first test is positive or indeterminate , a second-step test should be performed.
Two important caveats:
For more information about Lyme disease, the geographic areas of risk, and appropriate laboratory testing procedures, please consult the CDC Website list below. Thank you.
Are There Any Risks To Lyme Disease Tests
There is very little risk to having a blood test or a lumbar puncture. If you had a blood test, you may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly. If you had a lumbar puncture, you may have pain or tenderness in your back where the needle was inserted. You may also get a headache after the procedure.
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The Role Of Lyme Disease Tests
The purpose of the most common type of Lyme disease testing is to determine whether you have developed antibodies as a result of past exposure to the Borrelia bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Antibodies are proteins created by the immune system that target specific threats like bacteria and viruses.
Blood testing alone cannot determine whether you have Lyme disease. Instead, testing can provide helpful information that your doctor can consider along with other factors, such as any symptoms youve had and whether youve been exposed to ticks that can carry Borrelia, to determine if a diagnosis of Lyme disease is appropriate.
Beyond blood testing, it is possible to analyze fluid from the central nervous system for signs of the Borrelia bacteria.
Diagnosis Testing And Treatment
You may have heard that the blood test for Lyme disease is correctly positive only 65% of the time or less. This is misleading information. As with serologic tests for other infectious diseases, the accuracy of the test depends upon how long youve been infected. During the first few weeks of infection, such as when a patient has an erythema migrans rash, the test is expected to be negative.
Several weeks after infection, FDA cleared tests have very good sensitivity.
It is possible for someone who was infected with Lyme disease to test negative because:
If you are pregnant and suspect you have contracted Lyme disease, contact your physician immediately.
- Report being bitten by a tick, or
- Live in, or have recently visited, a tick-infested area.
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The Problem With Diagnosing Chronic Lyme
Unfortunately, ticks dont always bitepeople out in the open, and if a bite goes unnoticed, then a patient might notregister or even look for the bullseye rash. Without this key symptom, its alltoo easy to write Lyme disease off as a bout of flu. This is where the problemsstart. The flu symptoms resolve after a few weeks, leaving the patient thinkingthat they are recovering. But in fact, the disease is only changing form andwill soon reappear as chronic Lyme, bringing with it a whole new set ofsymptoms.
The problem with diagnosing chronic Lymeis twofold. First of all, the disease is not considered legitimate by manymedical professionals, meaning that doctors dont often consider it right away.Secondly, compounding matters is the fact that chronic Lyme symptoms are oftengeneralized and mimic the symptoms of other, more prominent, chronic diseases.
What Blacklegged Ticks Look Like
Blacklegged ticks are small and hard to see. They attach themselves to humans and animals and feed on their blood. They can range in size depending on how long they have been feeding.
You can find out if its a blacklegged tick by:
- calling your local public health unit or checking their website
- submitting a photo of the tick to etick.ca
Adult female blacklegged tick at various stages of feeding. Photo: Government of Canada
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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.
How Much Do At
Generally, at-home Lyme disease tests cost around $100, while others may cost closer to $500. The difference comes down to how many pathogens you are hoping to test for. On average, the test will look for two or three, but more expensive tests may screen for 10 to 15.
Depending on your insurance and which test you select, it may be covered. Another option is to pay for the Lyme disease test with your HSA/FSA, since some companies will accept that as a payment form.
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How We Chose The Best At
When evaluating the companies for the best at-home Lyme disease tests, we looked at several key factors in order to provide you with the best information. For one, accuracy was extremely important, so we looked at testing centers with the best reviews and certifications. Every test mentioned in this article has been evaluated and awarded for their laboratory accuracy when dealing with their at-home tests.
Since Lyme disease is so severe and a misdiagnosis can have awful repercussions, we also considered how others reviewed the at-home tests.
The Igenex Lyme Immunoblot Solves These Problems
IGeneX has developed a serological test that increases specificity without sacrificing sensitivity that has changed how to test for Lyme disease. It uses specifically created recombinant proteins from multiple species and strains of Lyme borreliae and reduces inconsistencies in reading and interpreting the test bands.
More species detected The Lyme ImmunoBlot tests for more species of Lyme borreliae than the traditional ELISA and Western blot tests, reducing the risks of false negatives due to the inability to detect antibodies to a certain strain or species of Lb. The test includes all Borrelia-specific antigens relevant in North America and Europe, not just B. burgdorferi B31 or 297.
The result is a single test that replaces at least 8 Western blots.
More accurate testing The ImmunoBlot uses specific recombinant proteins that are sprayed in precise amounts onto specific locations on the membrane strip, allowing for greater control of the quantity and location of the antigens. This makes reading the bands much more accurate and consistent.
Earlier detection The ImmunoBlot can detect infections at multiple stages of illness, letting you catch infections earlier.
The IgM and IgG ImmunoBlots superior specificity and sensitivity make them the best Lyme disease test available.
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How Do You Diagnose The Later Stages Of Lyme Disease
Disseminated Lyme disease, due to unsuccessful or delayed treatment, can become disabling. The bacteria can leave the skin where it was initially inoculated by the tick and travel through the bloodstream to numerous systems of the body, primarily joints, heart, brain, muscles and the nervous system.
Late disseminated Lyme disease has a wide range of presentations including joint pain, extreme fatigue, neuromuscular pain, cardiac problems, headaches, and other central nervous system dysfunction. There are some distinguishable signs of later stage Lyme disease including facial palsy in the second stage, and swollen knees in the third stage that are somewhat specific for Lyme disease, but not absolutely, because there are other causes of Bells Palsy and swollen knees.
Diagnosis can be confirmed by serology blood tests which measure the antibodies that are formed by the immune system in response to the Lyme disease bacterial infection. Collection of cerebrospinal fluid by lumbar puncture may be indicated in neurologic cases that may involve the central nervous system.
Lyme Disease Diagnosis And Testing Highlights
- LLMDS consider the specificity of the particular bands that test positive for a patient.
- Although the CDC requires 5 of 10 bands for IgG surveillance purposes, 2 of 5 bands have specificity of 93-96% and a sensitivity of 100%. .
- 56% of patients with Lyme disease test negative using the two-tiered testing system recommended by the CDC.
- The CDC case surveillance definition allows single-tier IgG immunoblot seropositivity using established criteria.
- The CDC states: This surveillance case definition was developed for national reporting of Lyme disease it is not intended to be used in clinical diagnosis.
- The College of American Pathologists found that ELISA tests do not have adequate sensitivity to be used for screening purposes.
- 52% of patients with chronic disease are negative by ELISA but positive by Western blot.
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Lyme Disease Blood Test
The Lyme disease test, also known as a Lyme disease blood test, Lyme disease screening test and a Lyme test, measures Lyme disease antibody blood levels.
Lyme disease is an infection spread by ticks containing the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Sometimes known as Lyme borreliosis, Lyme disease usually infects humans when the tick has been attached for at least 36 hours. Unlike other types of infectious diseases, Lyme disease cannot be transmitted between humans or animals.
Lyme disease can cause a wide range of symptoms targeting a number of different organs and systems in the body. Classically, Lyme disease presents with an bullseye-shaped rash around the area of the tick bite known as erythema migrans although not every person gets one. Untreated, Lyme disease can lead to chronic joint pain, heart abnormalities, memory problems and long-term fatigue.
What Is The Difference Between This Indirect Blood Diagnostic Test And A Direct Test
Direct diagnostic tests measure the presence of the bacteria directly and are much more reliable than tests looking for indirect measurement of antibodies that measure a persons immune response to an infection. Lyme disease diagnoses and disease management would benefit from validated diagnostic tests that directly measure the infection such as a culture, PCR test, or antigen detection tests. Direct tests are vital to the management of other infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis C, strep, and COVID-19, but have not yet become widely available for Lyme disease.
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How To Avoid Tick Bites
To reduce the chance of being bitten:
- cover your skin while walking outdoors and tuck your trousers into your socks
- use insect repellent on your clothes and skin products containing DEET are best
- stay on clear paths whenever possible
- wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to see and brush off