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 Blood Test Results Fully Explained
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.
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.
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Lyme Disease Antibody Test Procedure
The Lyme disease antibody test requires no advance preparation. A lab technician will swab the inside of your elbow with an antiseptic before drawing your blood. Your blood will be drawn from a vein in your arm using a small needle.
The blood draw should not be painful, though you might feel a slight prick when the needle is inserted into your vein.
The blood sample will be collected in a vial. The puncture site will be bandaged, if needed, after the needle is removed. After the blood draw, you are free to go home.
There are very few risks associated with the Lyme disease antibody test. Excessive bleeding is possible, but there may be an increased risk if you take blood thinning medications or certain anti-inflammatory drugs like:
What Percent Of Cases Of Reasonably Proven Lyme Disease Present Without Erythema Migrans
According to the Centers for Disease Control , erythema migrans occurs in 60-80% of Confirmed cases. Under careful monitoring of patients who develop new onset symptoms, about 20% have systemic symptoms without a rash or other objective sign of Lyme disease .
To be considered a confirmed case by CDC for epidemiologic surveillance in the absence of a rash, a person has to have laboratory evidence of infection and at least one late manifestation of Lyme disease. Late manifestations of Lyme disease considered diagnostic are: joint swelling, facial palsy or other specific signs of nervous system involvement, or specific cardiac conduction defects. The CDC also has criteria for a “probable case”, defined as physician-diagnosed Lyme disease that has laboratory evidence of infection. Suspected cases without an EM are those with laboratory evidence of infection but no clinical information available.
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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.
How Do You Test For Lyme Disease With An At
Hereâs how to check for Lyme disease with the Everlywell test.
To take our at-home Lyme Disease Test, collect a small sample of blood with a simple finger prick. Youâll then send the sample to a lab for analysis , and youâll be able to view your results on our secure, online platform.
Consider taking this Lyme test if:
- You have traveled to areas infested with ticks that can transmit Lyme bacteria , found ticks on your body, and are now experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease.
- If you believe you have been exposed to a tick and are experiencing symptoms , taking this antibody test can help assess for Lyme disease. If you have been tested previously, but are now having new symptoms, this Lyme disease test kit can also help.
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Is It Possible For Lyme Disease To Be Misdiagnosed As Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Are There Similarities In Symptoms Between These Two Diseases
The question of a relationship between Lyme Disease and ALS first received significant academic attention when Dr. John Halperin who was then a neurologist at Stony Brook conducted a study in which he compared the frequency of blood test positivity to the agent of Lyme disease among patients with ALS to community controls. The results indicated a higher percentage of the ALS patients were seropositive for Lyme Disease. Since then, there have been isolated case reports both in the media and one or two in the academic literature indicating that a patient had been misdiagnosed with an ALS-like illness only later to be re-diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease with good clinical response. Although we suspect that there may be rare individuals who have symptoms similar to ALS but actually have proximal motor neuropathy caused by Lyme disease, the vast majority of patients with ALS are not thought to have Lyme disease as the cause of their serious disease. Clinical trials have been underway using antibiotics for ALS not because there is belief that ALS is caused by a microbe but because these antimicrobial agents have other properties as well, such as decreasing inflammation or decreasing glutamatergic excitotoxicity. The studies examining intravenous ceftriaxone as a treatment for ALS were not successful.
Can A Dog Still Get Lyme Disease Even If Vaccinated
Lyme disease vaccines do not cause Lyme disease, and they do not prevent disease development in dogs already infected. It is important to know that both types of vaccines are only about 80% effective in preventing Lyme disease. In other words, about 20% of vaccinated dogs can still become infected with Lyme disease.
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What Is Lyme Disease
This bacterial infection is spread through the bite of a young deer tick or black-legged tick. These eight-legged creatures, about the size of a poppy seed, can be found in wooded and grassy areas throughout the United States, especially in New England and the Rocky Mountains.
Because these ticks are so small, most people donât realize when theyâre bitten. But the longer a tick stays attached to you, the more likely it is to transmit Borrelia burgdorferi , if the tick is a carrier.
If not found and treated, Lyme disease can lead to problems with your joints, heart, and nervous system. It can even affect your memory.
How To Read Lyme Test Results
This article was medically reviewed by Sarah Gehrke, RN, MS. Sarah Gehrke is a Registered Nurse and Licensed Massage Therapist in Texas. Sarah has over 10 years of experience teaching and practicing phlebotomy and intravenous therapy using physical, psychological, and emotional support. She received her Massage Therapist License from the Amarillo Massage Therapy Institute in 2008 and a M.S. in Nursing from the University of Phoenix in 2013.There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 14,293 times.
If you’ve been bitten by a tick, it’s normal to feel nervous that you might have contracted Lyme disease. There is a two-step process recommended by the CDC to test for Lyme. The process tests your blood for evidence of antibodies your body produces to resist spirochete bacteria, which causes Lyme disease.XResearch source Your health care provider will first review your symptoms. Depending on your condition, you’ll be given an initial screening. The more detailed “Western blot” test will be done if the initial screening indicates a positive result.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
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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.
My Child Had Lyme Disease Got Treated And Is Now Depressed Could This Be A Sign Of A Relapse
Depression is a word that encompasses physical, cognitive, and emotional components. The physical would be poor sleep, fatigue, low energy, lack of sex drive. The cognitive would include poor concentration and trouble making decisions. The emotional would include feeling guilty, hopeless, suicidal, and being unable to enjoy life in any aspect. Chronic symptoms triggered by Lyme disease are most often associated with insomnia or hypersomnia, fatigue, headaches, pain, and, not uncommonly, problems with cognition as well. In other words, chronic Lyme symptoms are most often associated with the physical and cognitive parts of the depressive picture and less often with the emotionally despairing part. When a person presents with the emotional part that is sustained for at least 2 weeks, it may be that a full syndrome depression has emerged related to the Lyme disease or that it is a concurrent but unrelated illness. The emotional aspects of depression might occur secondarily to being sick with a physical illness or directly from an infection affecting the brain or from chemicals affecting the brain that were released by infection outside of the brain. When a person has Lyme encephalitis , the emotional part of depression can be very dramatic. The person might be suddenly tearful for no apparent reason, have very poor frustration tolerance, become paranoid or angered at the least provocation, and appear to have a personality change.
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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.
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What Does A Dog With Lyme Disease Look Like
Many animals can have Lyme disease and show no signs. In dogs, the most common signs include fever, loss of appetite, painful or swollen joints, lameness that comes and goes, swollen lymph nodes, and lethargy. If Lyme disease is left untreated it can lead to damage in the kidneys, nervous system, and heart.
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What Criteria Do Doctors Use To Choose Different Antibiotics
Partly, doctors rely on what medicines have been shown in published studies to be effective for Lyme disease. For neurologic Lyme disease, the best tested antibiotic is IV ceftriaxone . For early Lyme disease, the best tested antibiotics include oral doxycycline, cefuroxime and amoxacillin. Physicians however often use other antibiotics well. For example, because one mouse study and several in vitro studies indicate that the agent of Lyme disease can penetrate and lodge inside cells, some doctors prefer to use medications that have good intracellular penetration ). Other factors that go into the decision include whether the patient is allergic to a particular family of antibiotics or whether the patient can tolerate oral medications intolerance might suggest the use of intramuscular penicillin whereas if a person is allergic to penicillins or cephalosporins a doctor would want to avoid long-acting intramuscular penicillin-family medicines.
To our knowledge, having had a Lyme disease infection that has been treated does not have a negative impact on the ability to become pregnant.
Special Considerations For Vaccinated Horses
An approved Lyme vaccine for horses is currently not available. Horses are sometimes vaccinated with one of the three available Lyme vaccines for dogs for attempted protection of horses that are housed in Lyme endemic areas. Efficacy studies of canine vaccines in horses are not yet available, but experimental data suggested that anti-OspA antibodies are protective in horses.
All available vaccines contain OspA antigen as the sole or one of the vaccine components. Antibodies to OspA are identified by the Equine Lyme Multiplex Assay to determine the vaccination status in vaccinated horses. To provide our clients with the best interpretation for each animal, we need information on the vaccine used. This includes the name of the vaccine and the date when the horse was last vaccinated. Please include this information on the submission form when samples of vaccinated horses are submitted for testing.
Recent studies indicate that horses can respond to the canine vaccines, but the responses are typically short-lived17,18. It is therefore recommended to vaccinate horses in close proximity to tick season, approximately four weeks before ticks are typically abundant in the area. Additionally, confirmatory testing is recommended after vaccination of horses since low OspA antibody responses have been observed in individual horses.
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What Do The Results Mean
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a two-test process of your sample:
- If your first test result is negative for Lyme disease, you don’t need any more testing.
- If your first result is positive for Lyme disease, your blood will get a second test.
- If both results are positive for Lyme disease and you also have symptoms of infection, you probably have Lyme disease.
Positive results don’t always mean a Lyme disease diagnosis. In some cases, you can have a positive result but not have an infection. Positive results may also mean you have an autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
If your lumbar puncture results are positive, it may mean you have Lyme disease, but you might need more tests to confirm a diagnosis.
If your health care provider thinks you have Lyme disease, he or she will prescribe antibiotic treatment. Most people who are treated with antibiotics in the early stage of disease will make a complete recovery.
Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions
If you have not done so already, remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers.
The chances that you might get Lyme disease from a single tick bite depend on the type of tick, where you acquired it, and how long it was attached to you. Many types of ticks bite people in the U.S., but only blacklegged ticks transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Furthermore, only blacklegged ticks in the highly endemic areas of the northeastern and north central U.S. are commonly infected. Finally, blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease. This is why its so important to remove them promptly and to check your body daily for ticks if you live in an endemic area.
If you develop illness within a few weeks of a tick bite, see your health care provider right away. Common symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash, fever, body aches, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Ticks can also transmit other diseases, so its important to be alert for any illness that follows a tick bite.
Moody KD, Barthold SW, 1991. Relative infectivity of Borrelia burgdorferi in Lewis rats by various routes of inoculation.external iconAm J Trop Med Hyg 44: 135-9.
There are no reports of Lyme disease being spread to infants through breast milk. If you are diagnosed with Lyme disease and are also breastfeeding, make sure that your doctor knows this so that he or she can prescribe an antibiotic thats safe for use when breastfeeding.
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