What If Your Lyme Disease Test Is Positive
Its important to note that a positive result doesnt mean you have a diagnosis of Lyme disease. The tests will show that antibodies are present in your blood, but a physician will need to order another type of test before you get an official diagnosis.
If someone gets a positive at-home test, definitely see your doctor, says Dr. Puja Uppal, a board certified family medicine physician and the chief medical officer at Think Healthy.
A physician will likely order both an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and a Western blot test, which check for antibodies specific to Borrelia burgdorferi. They will consider the results of both these tests, along with your symptoms, to make an accurate diagnosis.
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The test involves taking a simple cheek swab, after which the test is mailed back to the company’s lab. After six to eight weeks, you will receive your results via email, and you will be contacted by a medical professional to see what the next steps are.
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What Is An At
An at-home Lyme disease test will typically be a blood finger prick test.
If you have been exposed to the bacteria Borrelia that leads to the infection of Lyme disease, your body will have created two antibodies to fight it off. The test will look for the presence of both types of antibodies, known as immunoglobulin M and immunoglobulin G .
You will receive your test kit along with account information so that you can get your test results as soon as they are ready. Follow the manufacturers instructions exactly as they are described.
Each test has different instructions, so its very important that you read the kits detailed information before getting started.
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Where Lyme Disease Occurs
In the United States, Lyme disease typically occurs in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and North Central states. It has also been reported to occur in Northern California. The most prevalent strain causing Lyme Disease in the United States is Borrelia burgdorferi.
If you live or have traveled to a state where Lyme disease is endemic, this increases your risk. Lyme disease is endemic in the following states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. For regulatory reasons, Everlywell is not able to offer testing in New Jersey, New York, or Rhode Island.
When Should I Test For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can sometimes show no obvious signs or symptoms for weeks, months, or even years . If symptoms do the show, they may include:
- Red target-like skin rash
- Muscle and joint aches
It can take 2-6 weeks after a tick bite for the Lyme Disease Test to identify antibodies in the blood. If you are concerned about Lyme disease you should consider testing 6 weeks after the tick bite. If you develop the erythema migrans rash, or if you experience any neurological symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.
The earlier the infection is identified, the easier it becomes to treat. This, along with the fact obvious signs dont always emerge, makes it so important to take a Lyme Disease Test if you believe youve been exposed to ticks during any outdoor adventures. The process is simple:
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Who Should Get Testing
Testing is usually indicated if a person has symptoms of Lyme disease and a known or possible exposure to ticks that can carry the Borrelia bacteria. However, because it takes time for antibodies to develop, the timing of testing is important to consider.
Lyme disease symptoms depend on the extent of the bacterial infection. Three phases are used to describe the infection:
It is important to understand these phases because testing is not equally valuable in each stage. With early localized disease and erythema migrans, blood testing is generally not helpful because antibodies have not had enough time to develop.
Because of similar concerns about potential false positive results, random screening for Lyme disease in people without symptoms is not recommended even in areas that are known to have ticks that can carry the Borrelia bacteria.
Is There A Lyme Disease Test Kit
Blood collection kits are available for at-home Lyme disease testing. Lyme disease test kits can cost as less as $20 and as much as $100 or more. Using a Lyme disease test kit is as simple as pricking your finger and smearing or collecting the blood onto the kit for testing.
However, testing for Lyme disease in a more controlled environment such as a lab or clinic is preferable as qualified healthcare professionals are likely to perform a more reliable test.
Waddell L. A., et al. . The accuracy of diagnostic tests for Lyme disease in humans, a systematic review and meta-analysis of North American research. PLoS One. 2016 11: e0168613. Retrieved from
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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.
The Elisa And Western Blot Are Not Sensitive Enough
Another major limiting factor of the traditional ELISA and Western blot is the quality. These tests tend to use lysed BB cultures, and therefore, depending on the culture conditions, some antigens are over-expressed, and some are under-expressed. This, in turn, can affect the ability to detect antibodies from patients blood.
Whats more, if a patient tests too early after a tick bite, his or her body may not have produced enough antibodies to show up on a test with suboptimal sensitivity.
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To Halt The Spread Of Lyme Nantucket Residents Consider Genetically Engineered Mice
Her ordeal is a common one every year, some 300,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Lyme disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that number is on the rise. Some people wait months or years to get a correct Lyme diagnosis. And their cases highlight a problem: Tests for Lyme in the first month of infection are frequently wrong. When diagnosed and treated early the infection is a simple one to get rid of, but left untreated it can cause a myriad of lingering symptoms, from severe arthritis to short-term memory problems.
Now, a number of research groups are working to improve Lyme tests to catch infections in the early stages. One avenue being studied by the CDC aims to create a Lyme signature of small molecules in the blood an approach that, in early testing, catches a dramatically higher share of early infections.
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
Though several types of tests do exist for the diagnosis of Lyme disease, the best tests for a Lyme disease diagnosis are blood tests, also known as serological tests. These tests are indirect, meaning they dont detect the infecting bacteria or its antigens but rather the antibodies an infected persons body produces in response to these antigens.
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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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection that results from a tick bite. The symptoms vary, and you can feel sick for months because of it. Some of the most common symptoms of Lyme disease are flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and headache. A rash can also occur in 70 to 80 percent of infections. If left untreated, the symptoms can worsen into facial palsy, dizziness, heart palpitations, and more.
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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.
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.
How Do You Test For Lyme Disease
How do you test for Lyme disease?
Learn more about the testing procedure for Lyme disease and shortcomings of current recommendations
Lyme disease is an infection caused by a bacterium known as Borrelia, most commonly spread by ticks.
Acute stage Lyme disease develops quickly after a tick bite. There is evidence showing these bacteria can persist, even after treatment, so sometimes Lyme disease can have long-term effects causing a whole range of symptoms. The symptoms tend to be numerous and non-specific making diagnosis challenging.
Complicating the picture even more, is the presence of co-infections. Ticks dont just carry the Borrelia bacteria, they also commonly carry other bacteria, viruses, and parasites for example Babesia.
Lyme disease is spreading throughout the world
Recent data shows that Lyme disease is spreading at an increasingly fast rate throughout the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , there are more than 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease in the US yearly. These numbers are likely skewed due to underreporting and inaccurate tests. As of 2018, the incidence of Lyme disease was estimated to be far greater than the CDC figure, reaching nearly 1 million people in the US alone. By 2050, this number may rise to 55.7 million people.
The ELISA test
The Western Blot test
The Western Blot, is more inclusive but also more complex and subject to human error.
Observing the symptoms
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.
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Why It Is Done
A Lyme disease test is done to diagnose Lyme disease in people who have symptoms of Lyme disease. Symptoms may include:
- An expanding red rash with a pale center. This is sometimes called a “bull’s-eye” rash.
- Extreme tiredness.
- Headache and stiff neck.
- Muscle and joint pain.
Symptoms of chronic Lyme disease infection include joint pain, stiffness, and problems with the heart, brain, or nerves.
Testing is most accurate when you have risk factors for Lyme disease or symptoms of the disease.
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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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.