Testing For Lyme Disease At Home
People can find many at-home Lyme disease tests online.
They typically come with instructions, and most companies require individuals to collect their samples at home and mail it to a lab for testing. The lab then issues the results, and a person can access them via email or through a companys online portal.
People may also be able to speak with a companys medical team to discuss their results and, if applicable, any next steps.
MNT chooses at-home tests that meet the following criteria where possible:
- Laboratories: Where possible, MNT will choose companies that process test samples in
Tick Removal And Testing
A tool to assist people in removing attached ticks and seeking health care, if appropriate, after a tick bite.
If you find a tick attached to your skin, simply remove the tick as soon as possible. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers works very well.
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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What Do My Test Results Mean
If both tests come back positive, that means you have had Lyme disease at some point in time.
If either or both of your tests come back negative, your doctor may still diagnose Lyme disease, particularly if you recently developed Lyme-like symptoms, regardless of your test results. But, if your doctor does not diagnose you with Lyme disease, you can ask to be re-tested in a few weeks. If you do have Lyme disease, your body may build up sufficient antibodies by that point to be detected by a blood test.
Two-step blood testing for later stages of Lyme disease is more accurate than for early infection because your body should have had sufficient time to produce the antibodies detected by diagnostic tests.
Interpreting the Western blot test
The Western blot test looks at whether you have an immune response the production of IgM or IgG antibodies to specific proteins on the Lyme disease bacteria. IgM antibodies are usually made by your body when the infection is new and recent, while IgG antibodies are usually made some weeks later. When the IgM or IgG antibodies combine with specific proteins from the Lyme disease bacteria, this produces dark spots, or bands on the Western blot test strip.
The CDC considers a Western blot test to be positive for Lyme disease if at least two of three IgM bands are positive within 30 days of symptom onset, or five of 10 IgG bands are positive at any time.
If your Western blot test comes back negative, ask your doctor:
What We Look For In The Best Lyme Disease Tests
There are a few important criteria we look for when choosing a test for Lyme disease. Some may be of higher priority to you than others, but all are worth considering while you decide.
- Trustworthiness: Does the company have positive reviews from real customers. Do they test your samples in accredited labs?
- Value-for-money: Does the Lyme disease cost come at a fair price with no pricey add-ons?
- Actionability: Does your report guide you towards the next steps following a positive result? Is experienced medical advice available?
- Speedy Results: Are your results delivered in a timely manner so you can take any required action as soon as possible?
- Report Clarity: Can you understand your results? Is support available if you require further explanation?
- IgG and IgM antibody test for Lyme disease bacteria
- CLIA and Cap-accredited labs
The Lyme disease test from LetsGetChecked analyzes your blood sample for reactivity to Borrelia IgG and IgM antibodies Borrelia is the bacteria carried by some ticks, that causes Lyme disease. A large concentration of IgM can indicate recent infection, while a higher concentration of IgG may indicate a Lyme disease infection thats been present for a while.
If you test positive, a member of the nursing team will call you to discuss your results and treatment options. If you need any additional support, the nursing team is available 24/7 to answer any questions that may have slipped your mind during your consultation.
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How Soon After I Find A Tick On My Body Should I Get Tested For Lyme Disease
It takes the body a few weeks to develop antibodies against Lyme disease. In the first few weeks after being bitten by an infected tick, a Lyme disease test will still likely come back negative. Typically, it is not until 4 to 8 weeks have passed after being bitten by an infected tick that the test is likely to be positive.
Negative Elisa On Serum
Early clinical Lyme disease in the form of erythema migrans with an 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 to 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.
How Will My Doctor Test Me For Lyme Disease
The CDC recommends two-step testing, sometimes referred to as a two-tiered test, for Lyme disease. You will need to go to a lab to have blood drawn. It takes a few days to get results.
If the first test comes back positive or unclear, the lab will do the second blood test. If the first test comes back negative, the CDC does not recommend the second test. However, according to the CDC the second test must be positive for you to be diagnosed with Lyme disease.
The first test: ELISA
This blood test is for antibodies against the Lyme disease bacteria. Because it can take some time for your body to produce antibodies, this test isnt always accurate soon after a person is infected.
The second test: Western Blot or a second ELISA
There are two options for the second test. One is called a Western blot, which looks at how your antibodies react to specific parts of the Lyme disease bacteria. The Western blot test has been part of the two-step testing system since 1994 and is more commonly used.
The other option is to do a second ELISA test, which measures antibodies to a specific protein found on Lyme disease bacteria. Because these tests are newer, not all doctors have experience with them and not all labs have access to them.
These tests can be run on the blood sample used for the first test. You should not need to go back to the lab.
A possible drawback of the two-step testing system
Which second test is best: ELISA or Western blot?
Patients Turning To Herbal Remedies
Because patients are currently turning to herbal remedies to fill the treatment gaps left by antibiotics, this research is a critical step in helping clinicians, as well as patients, understand which ones may offer the most potential benefit.
According to this study, carried out by Prof. Ying Zhangs group at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the seven herbal medicines that have the ability to kill B. burgdorferi in test tubes are:
- Cryptolepis sanguinolenta
- Scutellaria baicalensis
It is important to note that each of these products have the potential to produce significant side effects in patients, and should be taken only under advisement of a clinician knowledgeable of their capabilities and toxicities.
Of these products, the Cryptolepis sanguinolenta extract caused complete eradication, while doxycycline and cefuroxime and other active herbs did not. This extract has been used for the treatment of malaria as well as the tick-borne infection Babesia, a malaria-like parasite.
This study is believed to be the first time this extract has been documented to have a potential impact on B. burgdorferi, and additional laboratory and clincial studies should be conducted to investigate the potential role Cryptolepis sanguinolenta could play in the treatment of Lyme disease.
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Traditional Lyme Disease Tests Are Not Specific Enough
Lyme disease is caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia. There are multiple species and strains of Lyme borreliae . Therefore, tests must be targeted to these multiple species and strains in order to be able to detect them. If a patient is infected with a species or strain of Lyme borreliae that their test cant detect, they will get a false-negative test result and thus risk missing their diagnosis. This can be costly and dangerous.
Many ELISA and Western blot Lyme disease tests are only equipped to detect one strain of one species of Borrelia: Borrelia burgdorferi B31 . This means that those tests are missing infections caused by other strains and/or species of Lyme borreliae.
In one internal study designed to test the validity of the IGeneX ImmunoBlot against traditional Western blot tests, a total of 132 patients were tested by both Lyme Western blots and Lyme IB. 43 patients were seropositive on the ImmunoBlot, and 14 were positive on standard Western blots prepared from a mixture of two species for Bb ss B31 and 297. Thus 29 of the 43 patients tested negative on Western blots i.e., the Western blot totally missed their infections with strains other than Bb ss B31 and 297.
With such limited tests, patients infected with non-B31 species and strains e.g., B. mayonii, B. californiensis, or European species are at risk of receiving false negatives and missing the chance to treat their diseases.
You Do Not Usually Need Tests To Show That You Have Lyme Disease
In most cases, theres a clear sign of Lyme diseasea painless, spreading rash that often grows to look like a bulls eye. If you have this rash, and you recently had a tick bite or were in an area known for Lyme disease, you dont need a test. Instead, your doctor can just start treating you with antibiotics, as appropriate.
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How Do I Know If The Lyme Disease Test Is A Good Fit For Me
You may want to test for Lyme disease if you:
- Found a tick on your skin that was present for at least 24 hours
- May have been exposed to ticks infected with Lyme disease
- Have symptoms of Lyme disease
- Go hiking or spend time outdoors often in the Pacific coast, northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central areas of the United States
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.
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Why Do I Need A Lyme Disease Test
You may need a test if you have symptoms of infection and were exposed or possibly exposed to ticks that carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The first symptoms of Lyme disease usually show up between 3 and 30 days after the tick bite.
Early signs and symptoms may include:
- A reddish round skin rash that slowly gets bigger over several days. It usually doesn’t itch or hurt, but it may be warm. As it gets better, it may look like a bull’s-eye , but not always.
- Muscle and joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
Later signs and symptoms of Lyme disease usually affect your joints and nervous system. They include:
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Rashes on other parts of your body
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, especially in the knees
- Pain that comes and goes in your muscles, joints, bones, and tendons
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in your hands or feet
First Its Important To Understand How A Doctor Should Test For Lyme Disease
Standard Lyme disease lab testing uses a two-tier system to analyze your blood for antibodies, which is recommended by the CDC. First, you take an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay testalso known as enzyme immunoassays which aims to detect Immunoglobulin G and Immunoglobulin M in your blood, or antibodies that your immune system produces in response to the bacteria that cause Lyme, the Borrelia species.2
If you test positive for IgG and IgM antibodies, then the CDC also recommends taking a Western blot test. This test looks for bands, which are barcode-like lines of proteins in the blood that signify IgG and IgM antibodies.3 Alternatively, you may take another ELISA test to confirm the results of the first test.
Some at-home Lyme disease test manufacturers claim to use a similar process to laboratory tests. Others may test urine samples or tissue from your cheeks, which are not recommended testing methods for the identification of Lyme disease antibodies, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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You Should Take The Test If:
- You are presenting with symptoms of Lyme disease
- You live in a place that is rich in vegetation or a woodland area
- You live in Northern America or Northern Europe
- You go camping or hiking on a regular basis, particularly during the Summer or Autumn
- You come into contact with larger woodland animals on a regular basis
The sample must be collected before 10am on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and returned on the same day.
Fasting means that you take the test in the morning before you have breakfast. You can still drink water when fasting. Always follow the advice of your physician with regards to fasting, particularly if you have any medical conditions.
Is This Test Right For Me
This test may be right for you if:
- You spent time in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent
- You have been in outdoor areas where ticks live
- You are experiencing symptoms such as rash, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes
If you are experiencing heart or neurologic symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention.
This test may not be right for you if:
- The tick bite occurred within the past 2 to 3 weeks
- You are not experiencing symptoms
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When To Speak With A Doctor
Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to help prevent late Lyme disease and its symptoms, including chronic Lyme arthritis and Lyme carditis.
A person should consult with a doctor if they have a tick bite or believe a tick has bitten them after visiting tick-prone regions.
They should also seek medical help if they experience any signs and symptoms of Lyme disease. These
The following are commonly asked questions about Lyme disease tests.
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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Serological Testing Of Csf For The Diagnosis Of Neurological Lyme Disease
Serological testing for neurological Lyme disease is based on demonstrating intrathecal synthesis of Borrelia-specific antibodies in CSF. For laboratory testing for neurological Lyme disease, IgG ViraChipÂ® serology assays are performed on CSF and paired serum and the results compared.
CSF samples must be tested in parallel with a contemporaneous serum sample and albumin and total IgG levels compared between the 2 sample types to produce a meaningful result.
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What Happens If You Go Untreated For Lyme Disease
If you happen to test positive for Lyme disease but go untreated, then your symptoms may increase significantly. You may develop early-onset arthritis, facial palsy, and inflammation of the brain stem and spine. Those symptoms can affect how your brain works and your ability to function cognitively.
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Question 5 How Do The Sttt And Mttt Detection Methodologies Compare
The MTTT appears to provide similar or improved sensitivity and specificity compared to the STTT. In a 356-sample retrospective study of a heterogenous cohort, specimens from healthy and disease control subjects and patients characterized as having stage I , stage II , or stage III Lyme disease were tested with both the STTT and MTTT approach.4 The results are summarized in Table 1. The MTTT methodology showed improved sensitivity relative to STTT for Lyme stages I and II, with statistically comparable sensitivity for stage III Lyme disease specificity did not differ significantly between the 2 methods.4
Does not accept insurance
No assistance after testing results are received
DNA ConneXions is a company known in the scientific community for its detailed analysis of lab results. This at-home Lyme disease test, for example, is superior to the others because it tests for all 10 vector-borne pathogens, while others only test the most common two or three.
DNA ConneXions earned our most accurate distinction because of its detailed Lyme disease test, as well as its impressive laboratory with a biosafety level 2 lab with a CLIA license. This means the company knows its stuff and is able to help people with accurate testing.
This is the most expensive kit on this list, costing about $650 for the full Lyme panel. As of now, it will not work with insurance companies or accept HSA. The DNA ConneXions lab, however, is one of the most trusted laboratories worldwide.