How Can I Save Money
If the Lyme disease test is performed at a local doctors office, its often covered by your health insurance and you will only be responsible for your co-pay and deductible as long as its deemed medically necessary. However, if you were to order an online lab test, it wont be covered by insurance, so its best to talk to your insurance company ahead of time to know the policy and whats covered.
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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.
Early Diagnosis Is Essential
Most experts agree that the best patient outcomes are achieved when Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases are diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
When a tick-borne illness is misdiagnosed, the disease-causing infection has more time to spread, which can lead to more severe or chronic health issues, says Dr. Jyotsna Shah, President of IGeneX.
That can lead to months and even years of escalating costs for patients and their families due to ongoing doctor visits, diagnostic tests, ineffective medications, and other medical expenses.
Tick-borne diseases are on the rise and prevention should be on everyones mind, particularly during the spring, summer, and early fall when ticks are most active. Prevention and early detection are part of the safety protocol extended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers hope that the survey will help educate the public on the risks associated with delaying testing or relying on old testing techniques.
In our view, many patients are missed because much of the testing recommended by general practitioners is based on technology from 25 years ago, says Dr. Shah. Science has progressed, and we can now give patients a much more accurate diagnosis than was available years ago.
For an infographic of key findings from the survey, please see below or go here. For a complete view of the survey results, please go here.
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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.
The Blood Tests Can Have False Positives
The blood tests can trigger false positives, suggesting that you have the disease when you really dont. This can happen in up to one out of four tests.
This can lead to unnecessary treatment with antibiotics. These drugs are usually safe, but they sometimes cause side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight. In rare cases, they can even cause dangerous allergic reactions.
Using too many antibiotics can also lead to the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. This means that bacteria in your body may get stronger and more difficult to treat with antibiotics in the future.
A false positive can also lead to more unneeded blood tests, urine tests, X-rays, and doctor visits.
If you have a false positive, you may not get treated for the real cause of your pain. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that causes joint pain. It can lead to permanent and severe joint damage if you do not start taking the right medicines as early as possible.
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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.
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Lyme Blood Culture: C
A United States lab called Advanced Laboratory Services had a Lyme disease blood culture that may have good predictive value in finding Lyme infection. Note: ALS no longer offers this tests. Traditionally the problem with Lyme blood culture has been finding a substance to grow the Lyme germ. ALS has perfected a method that involves three separate steps. In the first step the blood is incubated on a special modified BSK medium. Then after 2 weeks it is transfered to a medium that has a protein matrix. As a third step a PCR techinique is use to determine if the growth on the medium is really borrelia. PCR is a techinique that finds the dna of an infection, in this case borrelia.
There is one study of this technique performed by Eva Sapi PhD and her research group. Of note the research was supported by ALS and Dr. Sapi is a member of the Research Division at ALS. This means there is an inherent bias built into the results of the research to find a positive result supporting the effectiveness of the test.
The test included 72 people who were known to have Lyme based on the very strict standards of the CDC and IDSA. There were also 50 people put in a control group who did not have Lyme. The study results found 94% sensitivity and 100% specificity.
In fact in my limited use of this test I found it missed many that I diagnosed with Lyme disease based on other tests and clinical grounds.
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Lyme Disease Western Blot Test
The Lyme Disease Western Blot test is typically used as a confirmatory test for people who have had positive results from previous Lyme Disease testing. The immunoblot test is also known as a Lyme Disease Line Blot test. This test looks for the presence of both IgG and IgM antigen bands to confirm both recent and previous exposure. The detection of multiple bands is required for a positive result. The CDC does not recommend the Western Blot test as a front-line screening as some conditions other than Lyme Disease may cause a false positive.
Lyme Disease is caused by infection with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. It is most commonly spread by the Deer Tick or Black Legged Tick and is the most common tick-borne illness in the United States and Europe. Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are often similar to other afflictions. While some people will display a distinctive bulls-eye rash around the site of the bite, others may experience common flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, and headache. The ticks which spread the disease are typically very small and many people do not even realize they have been bitten. If left untreated, Lyme Disease can cause joint pain, numbness in the arms and legs, facial paralysis, Meningitis, heart problems, or memory problems.
Turnaround time for the Lyme Disease Western Blot test is typically 2-5 business days.
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Other Pathogens To Blame
Shor and his co-authors, including Maloney, propose that the lingering symptoms are caused by several pathogens from the Borrelia burgdorferi family or other tick-borne pathogens.
Nardelli said theres a variety of symptoms and severity in Lyme disease patients, and those symptoms can be caused by the inflammatory responses against the microbes.
“Inflammation is a huge part of the immune response. Its one of the frontline defenses we have, and it has this negative connotation, but it is intended for good,” he said. “Your immune response trying to kill the bug and in doing so, can cause damage, essentially.”
Some theories suggest that variants of the Lyme bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. Others argue that chronic Lyme is caused by a powerful immune reaction or it may even trigger an autoimmune disease. The central neural networks may be altered, having a significant impact on symptoms or a combination of these factors.
Nardelli is investigating Lyme-related arthritis that persists after treatment with antibiotics. He said science can be a slow process of acquiring new knowledge, and its tough for patients who are suffering with no clear answers.
That can lead them to seek out untrustworthy practitioners or fall for costly treatments that dont work. “You go out and find doctors that diagnose everything as Lyme disease,” Nardelli said.
“The whole goal is to get people the right diagnosis so they can get the therapy that they need,” she said.
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Thousands Of Questionable Tests
When people notice a tick bite or get sick in the summer in a Lyme-prone area, many will call their doctor. If a telltale bulls-eye rash is present, a doctor will often assume Lyme and prescribe antibiotics without testing.
But not everyone gets or notices the rash, so most mainstream doctors turn to the CDC-recommended test. The two-step process first looks for increased antibodies in the blood that react to the Lyme bacteria. But because someone can test positive and not have the disease, a second test, known as a Western Blot is performed to more accurately identify antibodies specific to the Lyme bacteria.
While the CDC has specific guidelines to interpret the results to identify Lyme, some labs interpret them far more liberally. IGeneX Inc., for example, a Palo Alto, Calif. lab that performs more than 20,000 Lyme tests a year, uses different interpretation criteria for the Western Blot. On its website, the lab also offers others, such as a urine test, that is not recommended by the CDC. IGeneX was rejected by New York three times for Lyme tests in the past decade for not having enough documentation to prove the tests worked. The lab did not respond to requests for comment.
The obligation of a clinical laboratory is to properly validate their test before offering it to the public for sale, said Barbara Johnson, a CDC scientist who wrote the critical study and is dubious that the Advanced Laboratory Services test works.
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, separate IgG and IgM ViraChip® 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 protein and immunoglobulin levels compared between the two sample types to produce a meaningful result.
For necessary sample types and volumes see Sample types for Lyme disease testing
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Can Lyme Disease Be Detected By A Blood Test
In a word: yes!
A blood test does not only detect Lyme disease it is the most accurate and preferred test for diagnosing the disease. If a patient with Lyme disease shows signs that the central nervous system has been affected by the disease, western blot testing on the cerebrospinal fluid can be performed. If ordering from Walk-In Lab, a doctors note is not needed. Just pick your Lyme disease test and place your order online.
The Staggering Cost Of Lyme Disease And Other Tick
MILPITAS, Calif., July 10, 2019 Nearly 36 percent of patients with a tick-borne disease spent more than $10,000 on tests, treatments, appointments, and other costs associated with their disease, a new IGeneX survey found.
The survey analyzed the cases of 198 patients from 2018 and 2019 who were tested by IGeneX, a leading testing lab in California. Researchers sought to determine how long it took for patients to obtain a proper diagnosis, how many doctors they had visited, and how much financial impact they had ultimately incurred.
According to the survey:
- 45% of patients needed more than three years to obtain the proper diagnosis
- 65% of patients were forced to quit a job or cut back on their hours due to their symptoms
- 24% of patients saw more than ten doctors before receiving a proper diagnosis
- 86% of patients suffer from long-term side effects from not having been diagnosed sooner
Most experts agree that the best patient outcomes are achieved when Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases are diagnosed and treated as early as possible. When a tick-borne illness is misdiagnosed, the disease-causing infection has more time to spread, which can lead to more severe or chronic health issues, says Dr. Jyotsna Shah, President of IGeneX. That can lead to months and even years of escalating costs for patients and their families due to ongoing doctor visits, diagnostic tests, ineffective medications, and other medical expenses.
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How Much Does A Igenex Urine Collection Kit Cost
After determining the type of test required, you or your doctor can order a test kit directly from IGeneX. The $20 charge is a non-refundable deposit and applies to testing costs if testing is purchased. The Urine Collection Kit is compatible with all tick-borne disease tests that require urine samples.
How to get a blood test from igenex?
Complete the paperwork with your doctor to determine which tests IGeneX should conduct with your samples. Take your collection kit to a blood draw site or collect your urine or miscellaneous sample at home. Ship everything to IGeneX. We will conduct the appropriate tests and send the results to your doctor.
Can you send a tick bite test to igenex?
Ship everything to IGeneX. We will conduct the appropriate tests and send the results to your doctor. If you are bitten by a tick and are able to remove it and send it in, or if you find one and arent sure if youve been bit, IGeneX can test the tick to determine if it is carrying the pathogens that can lead to tick-borne illnesses.
Poor Sensitivity Of Traditional Lyme Disease Testing
If a physician is familiar with the multiple presentations of Lyme disease and considers it as a possible diagnosis, standard laboratory testing has poor sensitivity so many cases are missed. The traditional laboratory test used to diagnose Lyme disease is a two-tiered test. This means an ELISA test is run first, and if it is positive, a second test called a western blot is performed to confirm the accuracy. If the ELISA test is negative, the western blot is not performed. The sensitivity of the ELISA test is so poor that it reports a false negative about half of the time. This means the more sensitive western blot never gets tested.
Physicians that specialize in treating tick-borne infections have historically considered the diagnosis of late-stage Lyme disease a clinical diagnosis. A clinical diagnosis is made if the patient has signs and symptoms consistent with a tick-borne infection and other diagnoses that could explain the signs and symptoms have been ruled out. However, in recent years specialized laboratory testing has advanced and should be used to confirm a suspected diagnosis.
In many scenarios other possible diagnoses have been ruled out, there has been a possible exposure to ticks , and the pattern of symptoms is consistent with Lyme disease.Specialized laboratory testing that is more sensitive than general national laboratory testing should be used to confirm the diagnosis.
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Alternate Treatments Offer Relief
Freitas now takes Epsom salt baths Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and uses an infrared sauna for detoxification, saying it makes her body feel better.
And she now takes 30 pills each day, interspersing antibiotics with herbs and dietary supplements, which cost upwards of $1,200 a month.
Maria Alice Lima Freitas is pictured at her home in Middleton, Wis., on Oct. 6, 2021, with some of the treatments she takes for Lyme disease and other co-infections. She says she currently pays about $1,200 a month in medicines, vitamins, supplements and treatment costs. Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Watch
“For babesia Im taking liquid gold Mepron,” said Freitas. “It’s really expensive. Its 50 bucks for 80 milliliters, which lasts two weeks.”
She gave up dairy, gluten, and sugar to reduce inflammation.
And she meets with Shor monthly online from her house at a charge of $250 per visit, which insurance does not cover.
“It was to me the money is well paid. Im having peace of mind,” Freitas said. “I feel like Im getting better.”
Freitas said she started gaining back some weight in June. Her mind has become a bit clearer. Her long-term memory seems back a bit, too. “Im getting out of the graveyard,” she said.
Said Oppenheimer to his wife: “What Im seeing is youre better relative to the beginning of , because youre still not good.”
And she still holds out “a little flame of hope” of one day becoming a doctor just like her dad.
Lyme Tests: When And What
So this is a lot of information to digest and to figure out how to use. Here is a way to proceed with testing based on the above information.
1. Never do an IFA or an ELISA.
2. The first test to do is the IGenex Immunoblot IGG and IGM test. This is the best test with sensitivity of 90.9% There are a couple of drawbacks though. One is cost. At $450 US it is expensive and at this writing, it is doubtful insurance will pay. By comparison the IGenex IGM and IGG Western blot is $250 and insurance often pays. In addition, because it is not a western blot, I am not sure if insurers will recognize it when determining to cover IV antibiotics. On the IGenex order form get tests: 325 and 335.
3. As an alternative to the IGenex Immunoblot, do the Western Blot. Be sure to have it performed by a lab that tests and reports for all of the Lyme specific bands including 18, 23-25, 31, 34, 39, and 83-93. These labs include IGenex and the Lyme Disease Laboratory at Stony Brook. Note that the western blot in Canada does not test for all of these. In addition all commercial labs like LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics, PAC LAB, and PAML here in the United States use the FDA approved kit using the CDC/IDSA criteria and do not test for all of these bands either. On the IGenex order form get tests: 188 and 189.
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