Ongoing Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A few people who are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease continue to have symptoms, like tiredness, aches and loss of energy, that can last for years.
Its not clear why this happens to some people and not others. This means theres also no agreed treatment.
Speak to a doctor if your symptoms come back, or do not improve, after treatment with antibiotics.
The doctor may be able to offer you further support if needed, such as:
- referral for a care needs assessment
- telling your employer, school or higher education institution that you require a gradual return to activities
- communicating with children and families social care
Page last reviewed: 05 July 2021 Next review due: 05 July 2024
Can Ticks On Cats Transfer To Humans
Ticks are unpleasant parasites that may affect your cat and if your cat is bitten, the tick may even pose a risk to people in your household. Ticks can also carry diseases. The bacterial infections including Lyme disease can be carried by ticks and passed to cats and even people, if they get a chance to bite.
Indirect Testing Can Be More Limited Than Direct Testing
Both tests used in the CDC recommended two-step process are indirect methods of diagnosismeaning they do not detect the actual Lyme disease bacteria itself but, instead, measure the bodys immune system response to the presence of disease-causing bacteria. However, a number of factors can prevent the body from producing antibodies, including the following:
- Timing: If conducted in the early stages of Lyme disease, a patients body may not have developed a sufficient enough number of antibodies to detect. This issue can be compounded by the lack of sensitivity of the ELISA test.
- Immunity Suppression: The saliva of infected ticks contains specific immune-suppressing components that can delay or prevent the activation of a persons immune response. These components are designed to prevent the body from effectively fighting off the Lyme disease-causing bacteria, so it has a chance to take hold.
- Antibiotics: If patients are taking antibiotics at the time of the Lyme disease test, they may not produce enough antibodies to be detected by the test.
- Modified Form of Borrelia: In some patients, the Borrelia bacteria will transform into a cyst, which will prevent the bodys immune system from producing antibodies.
- Weakened Immune System: False negatives can also result in patients in whom the immune system is weakened or compromised due to coinfection with another illness.
- Seronegative patients: These patients do not produce antibodies.
You May Like: What Type Of Doctor Treats Lyme Disease
Amplification And Quantification Of Dna
Because PCR amplifies the regions of DNA that it targets, PCR can be used to analyze extremely small amounts of sample. This is often critical for forensic analysis, when only a trace amount of DNA is available as evidence. PCR may also be used in the analysis of ancient DNA that is tens of thousands of years old. These PCR-based techniques have been successfully used on animals, such as a forty-thousand-year-old mammoth, and also on human DNA, in applications ranging from the analysis of Egyptian mummies to the identification of a Russiantsar and the body of English king Richard III.
Quantitative PCR or Real Time PCR methods allow the estimation of the amount of a given sequence present in a samplea technique often applied to quantitatively determine levels of gene expression. Quantitative PCR is an established tool for DNA quantification that measures the accumulation of DNA product after each round of PCR amplification.
How Is It Diagnosed
If youâve been outside in an area where ticks are known to live, you should tell your doctor. Theyâll also want to know about the symptoms youâre having. These details are crucial to making a diagnosis of Lyme disease.
Early symptoms that usually occur within the first month after a tick bite can include:
- Rash at the site of the tick bite that may look like a âbullâs-eyeâ
- Racing heart
- Problems with your short-term memory
Symptoms that come and go are common with Lyme disease. They will also depend on the stage of the disease.
Also Check: Washington Dc Lyme Disease Specialist
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:
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 .
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.
Don’t Miss: How Long For Lyme Disease Test Results
How Do I Remove A Tick From My Dog
Check your pet immediately after it has been in a tick-infected area. The deer tick is a small tick and only about pinhead size in juvenile stage, but is a little more obvious in the adult phase and after feeding. If you find a tick moving on your pet, the tick has not fed. Remove the tick promptly and place it in rubbing alcohol or crush it between two solid surfaces. If you find a tick attached to your pet, grasp the tick with fine tweezers or your finger nails near the dogs skin and firmly pull it straight out. There are also tools available called Tick Twister® or Tick Key® which can be useful. However, take care to use them cautiously as twisting or jerking the tick may cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. See your veterinarian if you are unsure or unable to remove the tick from your dog.
Make sure you protect your fingers from exposure by using a tissue or a disposable glove.You may need another person to help restrain your dog. Removing the tick quickly is important since the disease does not appear to be transmitted until the tick has fed for approximately 12 hours. If you crush the tick, do not get the ticks contents, including blood, on your skin.
Note: The bacterium that causes Lyme disease can pass through a wound or cut in your skin.
How To Test For Lyme Disease
Wondering how to get tested for Lyme disease? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests a two-step testing process to check for a Lyme disease infection, both of which involve antibody testing , typically done on the same blood sample.
If the first step in the process returns a negative test result, then the second step is not necessary. However, if the first step yields a positive result, the second test is recommended as confirmation of a Lyme disease diagnosis. The Everlywell Lyme Disease Test follows this recommended protocol from the CDC, so it includes the two-step testing process.
Read Also: Lyme Disease Ever Go Away
Don’t Miss: Old Lyme Ct School Calendar
Tbrf Can Cause A Negative Result
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.
Have More Questions? Contact Us
Learn The Stages Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease occurs in three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. However the stages can overlap and not all patients go through all three. A bulls-eye rash is usually considered one of the first signs of infection, but many people develop a different kind of rash or none at all. In most cases, Lyme symptoms can start with a flu-like illness. If untreated, the symptoms can continue to worsen and turn into a long-lived debilitating illness.
Stage 1: Early Localized Disease
Symptoms with early localized Lyme disease may begin hours, a few days or even weeks after a tick bite. At this point, the
infection has not yet spread throughout the body. Lyme is the easiest to cure at this stage.
Symptoms may include:
- skin rash, which may or may not look like a bulls eye
- flu-like illness, including chills and fever
- muscle soreness and joint pain
- swollen lymph nodes
- sore throat
Stage 2: Early Disseminated Lyme
Early disseminated Lyme may occur several weeks or months after the tick bite. Bacteria are beginning to spread throughout the body. In addition to flu-like symptoms, this stage is often characterized by increase in symptoms such as:
- pain, weakness or numbness in the arms, legs
- vision changes
- heart problems, such as palpitations, chest pain
- rash may appear on body
- facial paralysis
Stage 3: Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
Find a LLMD
Lyme Symptom Tracker App
Get started with your diary
Don’t Miss: How To Treat Late Stage Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease Testing & Results
To get the Lyme disease test near you, simply order online and get tested at the selected Quest Diagnostics lab location. Once the Lyme disease test results are available, they will be available for download. Many people wonder whether fasting is required and how long results take for the Lyme test. Fasting is not required when getting a Lyme disease blood test and results are typically available in 4 business days or less. As can be seen on the sample Lyme disease screening test report above, the Lyme antibody screen will report the antibody levels which can be compared against a reference range provided by the lab. If Lyme disease antibodies are detected, the Lyme western blot test will be performed and reported to provide more detail. This Lyme disease test is a component of the more comprehensive infection panel test that screens for a variety of infections.
In most cases, Lyme disease can be treated effectively with common antibiotics such as doxycycline, cefuroxime and amoxicillin. The risk of being exposed to Lyme disease in the first place can be reduced by avoiding regions with infected ticks. When in an at-risk location, it is recommended to wear a hat, long sleeve shirts and long pants and to use insect repellants like DEET. A recombinant Lyme vaccine used to exist but is no longer available.
- A doctor’s lab order*
- A PDF copy of your test results
- Responsive customer service
If The C6 Test Is Positive What Is The Next Step
A positive C6 test means antibodies to C6 were found. The next step is to do a QC6 test, which determines if the levels of antibody are high enough to justify treatment. If the value of the QC6 is higher than 30 IU/mL and signs of illness are present, then antibiotic treatment should be considered. If the QC6 is less than 30 IU/mL and there are no signs of illness, then treatment may not be necessary.
In addition to doing the QC6 test, your veterinarian may want to take samples of blood and urine to assess kidney function and to look for protein in the urine. A positive test for protein in the urine could signal serious underlying kidney disease.
You May Like: Joint Pain After Lyme Disease
Positive C6 Elisa On Serum
RIPL will automatically proceed to do IgM and IgG immunoblot tests after a positive or indeterminate ELISA test and will provide an overall interpretation of the ELISA and immunoblot in the light of the clinical details provided on the request form.
Please provide clinical details to allow the interpretation of serological results. These are needed for interpretation because antibody levels from a protective humoral immune response to Borrelia species may persist indefinitely in patients who have had Lyme disease in the past. After successful treatment of Lyme disease antibody concentrations may slowly fall over time.
Borrelia species are notifiable organisms. The numbers of positive results from laboratory confirmed cases in RIPL are reported to PHE and analysed for inclusion in PHE Health Protection Reports as part of Lyme disease epidemiology and surveillance.
Lyme Disease Pcr Testing
A polymerase chain reaction test, also known as a PCR test, checks blood for evidence of a pathogens DNA. In some cases, a PCR test will be performed using a sample of synovial fluid, which is found in the joints. This test has become very common in the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of people have had to undergo PCR testing for coronavirus.
A Lyme disease PCR test is designed to look for the borrelia bacterias DNA to identify whether or not it has made its way into the body through a bite from an infected tick. When DNA material is found, it can be determined that a Lyme infection is present.
Image by on The PCR test looks for DNA that confirms a case of Lyme disease is present.
Recommended Reading: Symptoms Of Untreated Lyme Disease
If I Am Worried About Lyme Disease Who Can I Talk To
Lyme disease is being increasingly recognised as causing illness and hardship, if the diagnosis is missed. Over the last number of years, there has been a marked increase in awareness of the condition among GPs and hospital doctors in Ireland. Each of the HSEs Hospital Groups have a number of Infectious Disease Consultants who are expert in the diagnosis and management of Lyme disease. If you have been bitten by a tick or have other reasons to strongly suspect you may have Lyme disease, you should visit your GP for advice.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A circular or oval shape rash around a tick bite can be an early symptom of Lyme disease in some people.
The rash can appear up to 3 months after being bitten by an infected tick, but usually appears within 1 to 4 weeks. It can last for several weeks.
The rash can have a darker or lighter area in the centre and might gradually spread. Its not usually hot or itchy.
The rash may be flat, or slightly raised, and look pink, red, or purple when it appears on white skin. It can be harder to see the rash on brown and black skin and it may look like a bruise.
Some people also get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after they were bitten by an infected tick, such as:
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- tiredness and loss of energy
Some people with Lyme disease develop more severe symptoms months or years later.
This is more likely if treatment is delayed.
These more severe symptoms may include:
- pain and swelling in joints
- nerve problems such as pain or numbness
- heart problems
- trouble with memory or concentration
Don’t Miss: Medication To Prevent Lyme Disease
Some Frequently Asked Questions
If I got a negative Lyme test LESS than 6 weeks after a tick bite, might I really have Lyme disease?
Antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi can take 6 weeks to develop and sometimes even longer. During the first six weeks after developing symptoms, a Lyme disease test could therefore be negative.
If the first ELISA test was negative within this time frame but a person still has Lyme symptoms, the test should be repeated, as set out in the flow chart above.
If I got a negative test MORE than 6 weeks after being infected, might I really have Lyme disease?
It is possible, although less likely than in the scenario described above.
There are different possible explanations why some symptomatic patients may test negative for Lyme disease using two-tier blood testing.
Sign up to our mailing list to receive the latest news and developments from our charity.
Is there a more reliable test that I could have done privately?
No, there is no type of test for Lyme disease currently proven to be more accurate than the tests used by the NHS. Some private laboratories do offer other types of tests which they claim are more reliable than the NHS tests, including modified western blot tests, ELISPOT, MELISA, and CPR tests that seek to detect the bacterial DNA.
See the question below, Why wont my NHS doctor prescribe me treatment based on my positive private Lyme disease test? for more information on this.
What is the Lyme disease ELISA test?
What is the Lyme disease western blot test?