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.
Borrelia Species Pcr Results
Borrelia species DNA may occasionally be detected in the blood by PCR, but a negative PCR test is of no value in excluding localised Lyme disease.
The overall sensitivity of PCR on a skin biopsy of an EM or ACA rash is around 50% and is limited by the chance of a single biopsy hitting a site with a significant number of organisms.
In neurological Lyme disease involving the CNS, up to 10% of cases may be PCR positive on a CSF sample a negative PCR result does not exclude the diagnosis.
Synovial fluid may be positive by PCR in up to 50% of cases. A negative result does not exclude the diagnosis.
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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How Are Dogs Treated
Your veterinarian will administer a series of blood tests to detect certain antibodies developed by a dog infected with the B. burgdorferi bacteria. Many dogs blood tests come back positive even if your dog has not contracted Lyme disease. Exposure to Borrelia burgdorferi will yield a positive blood test result. Most likely the dog was exposed to the bacteria but was able to fight the infection off without treatment.
Treating Lyme disease is straightforward. Veterinarians will prescribe a tetracycline or penicillin based antibiotic. Dogs will need to take the antibiotics for at least 14 days, but a 30-day regimen is recommended to sufficiently clear the organism. There have been a few cases where after 30 days of antibiotic treatment a dog has relapsed and will never completely rid themselves of the infection. However, the majority of animals that receive antibiotics respond well to treatment.
Treating An Elusive Bacteria
When doctors catch and treat Lyme early, within the first few months, many experts believe treatment is straightforward. Public health officials say a 2- to 4-week course of a single antibiotic eradicates symptoms, and relapses are uncommon. But since many people are not treated early for Lyme, studies show that 28 to 50% of patients continue to suffer from fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and “brain fog” after completing standard treatment.
The reason? Borrelia is no ordinary bacterium, says Ahern. In the same way a tick burrows into the skin, the corkscrew-shaped Borrelia worms its way into tissues that have few circulating antibodies, where it’s harder for antibiotics to reach. Although Borrelia is a bacterium and not a virus like HIV, Ahern likens it to HIV in its ability to hijack the immune system while simultaneously wreaking havoc on every major organ system.
Despite public health officials’ continued assurances that therapy with a single antibiotic drug can successfully eradicate the disease, the latest research suggests treating Lyme with only one medicationâdoxycycline, for exampleâcan sometimes trigger the bacteria to mutate into a more persistent form. In a 2012 study published in PLOS ONE, Tulane University researchers reported that monkeys infected with Lyme and then treated with a single antibiotic still had Borrelia bacteria lying dormant in their systems months later.
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Other Diagnostic Tests For Lyme Disease
Some laboratories offer Lyme disease testing using urine or other body fluids. These tests are not approved by FDA because they have not been proven to be accurate. For example, one study of urine-based polymerase chain reaction assays for Lyme disease diagnosis showed that with currently available tools, urine cannot be used to accurately diagnose Lyme disease. Another study by NIAID-supported scientists showed that the Lyme Urinary Antigen Test was unreliable and resulted in excessive numbers of false positives. In the same study, researchers confirmed that an ELISA followed by a Western blot test was nearly 100 percent reliable in diagnosing Lyme disease. With the availability of so many Lyme disease tests, including non-commercial tests developed by individual facilities, it is impossible to address the accuracy of each one. The development of new, rapid, clearly validated diagnostic tests continues to be a need.
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.
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The Right Testing And Care = The Road To Recovery
So we talked about some of the complexities around detecting Lyme and its co-infections and also why some of the current testing is flawed. We also talked about a solution to testing that could detect Lyme in chronic cases. All of this comes down to finding a Calgary Lyme disease doctor who understands Lymes complexities and can provide you with private testing that is based on more current research.
When you see a provider, you want to test for multiple infections including:
With proper lab testing, we can detect 15 confirmed infections that cause disease. We dont currently know all of the infections but the main thing to remember is to get lyme disease testing beyond just Borrelia burgdorferi.
TIP: If you have been tested for Lyme disease before and it came back negative but you have a sneaky suspicion that the test wasnt accurate , you may want to get re-tested.
How Do I Know If I Am Getting Tested Correctly For Lyme Disease
So we have already established that it is difficult to detect the presence of Lyme disease. But, thankfully, techniques and private testing have been developed to circumvent these complexities .
One technique is PCR which looks at Lyme antigens and the organisms DNA.
While PCR can be effective for detecting Lyme disease, knowing how to give this test is also important. In order to get a good reading, your lymph system needs to be moving. To increase lymphatic movement, here at Neurvana Health, we may use infrared sauna, exercise, or simply therapeutic ultrasound on various areas of the body where we think the infection may be present. To detect its presence, we can review your symptoms and where you experience pain. So we may look at memory problems and use ultrasound on the temporal, upper cervical regions and down the spinal cord. We may also use it on the joints, gallbladder or spleen.
What does the ultrasound do? Well, the infections have what we call Velcro proteins that allow them to attach to connective tissue. So the ultrasound breaks these proteins and the organisms get dispersed into the circulation where we can detect them. We can detect their DNA in blood or urine.
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Cdc Supports The Development Of New Tests
New tests may be developed as alternatives to one or both steps of the two-step process. Before CDC will recommend new tests, they must be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration . For more details, see: Recommendations for Test Performance and Interpretation from the Second National Conference on Serologic Diagnosis of Lyme Disease.
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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.
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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.
Why Is It So Hard To Get A Lyme Disease Diagnosis
Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that often has vague symptoms doctors brush off or misdiagnose. Here’s why.
Singer Avril Lavigne, for example, has been very vocal about her struggle with getting a Lyme disease diagnosis. She told Good Morning America in 2015 that she saw many doctors and underwent a battery of tests, but that it wasn’t until she found a Lyme disease specialist that she was given a correct diagnosis.
“I was in Los Angeles, literally, like the worst time in my life and I was seeing, like, every specialist and literally, the top doctors,” Lavigne explained. She said that some of these experts misdiagnosed her symptomsdebilitating pain and fatigueas chronic fatigue syndrome or depression, while others told her she was simply dehydrated or exhausted from touring.
“This is what they do to a lot of people who have Lyme disease,” she said. “They don’t have an answer for them so they tell them, like, ‘You’re crazy.'”
Lavigne started to suspect she had Lyme disease a few months after she began feeling exhausted and lightheaded. Her symptoms eventually got so bad, she felt like she couldn’t breathe, talk, or move. “I thought I was dying,” she told People.
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The Testing Is Not Perfect
There are a lot of false negative tests in Bartonella. This means the test is negative, even when a person truly has the infection. One reason for this is a common immune system test to detect antibodies called an IFA test, does not exist for most strains of Bartonella. IFA testing is easily available for Bartonella henselae and Bartonella quintana. And this is the test method most doctors use. In my opinion, it is not worth doing.
Another testing method is to do a Bartonella dna detection test using blood from a patient. This is called PCR testing. But even here, there are many false negative tests when a standard PCR test technique is performed.
To overcome problems with regular PCR and IFA Bartonella testing, Galaxy Diagnositics offers an enhanced PCR test. In the Galaxy method, the growth of Bartonella is enhanced on special growing media before the PCR test is performed. Growing Bartonella this way amplifies the ability of PCR testing to detect Bartonella in blood samples. Galaxy claims it can detect all 15 human strains, and can even report which one a person has. The problem with the Galaxy method is there are no validity tests that show how good it is at detecting Bartonella when a person has it. This is called test sensitivity. So I cannot tell you if this test is generally effective at finding Bartonella. But, when it does detect Bartonella, the test result really is true. This is called the test specificity.
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.
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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.
Negative C6 Elisa On Serum
Early clinical Lyme disease in the form of erythema migrans with 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 4-6 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.
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Lyme Disease Symptom Chart
Chronic Lyme Disease Symptom Severity. In LDos chronic Lyme disease survey, over 75% of patients reported at least one symptom as severe or very severe and 63% reported two or more such symptoms. Find out more about LDo peer-reviewed published surveys. The chart below shows the severity of ten common chronic Lyme symptoms.
Can You Use A Serology Test To Diagnose The First Stage Of Lyme Disease
Serology antibody tests are generally more helpful for second and third stages of Lyme disease than first stage Lyme disease. Antibodies take weeks to develop, and if the initial presentation of Lyme disease is in the early stage those antibody tests may be falsely negative because the immune system has not yet had enough time to produce antibodies. If a physician is suspicious of Lyme disease but cannot make a diagnosis by the rash, then the antibody test in that first stage should be repeated 3 to 4 weeks later since a Lyme disease diagnosis can be missed with a false negative test in the first few weeks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using a two-step testing process. If an ELISA test is positive, it is then followed by a Western blot test. However, this antibody-based testing system can produce some false positive results and high numbers of false negative results, particularly in early infection.
In addition, the immune response to borrelia is heterogeneous, and not all cases are captured by current antibody-based diagnostics. Antibody testing can also be a problem in patients with early disease who are treated with antibiotics. In these cases, a follow up antibody test done after treatment may be negative and never turn positive.
A negative antibody test does not necessarily rule out Lyme disease and should always be considered in the context of a full health history and clinical assessment.
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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.