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How To Interpret Lyme Test Results

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If My Dog Tests Positive Does He Need To Be Treated

The Lies in CDC Lyme Testing Interpretation for Chronic Lyme Disease

The decision to treat Lyme disease is somewhat controversial since many infected dogs show no signs of illness. Factors that would support treatment include:

a moderate to high value of QC6 signs of illness compatible with Lyme disease at the time of testing a history of illness compatible with Lyme disease within the past year the presence of abnormal levels of protein in the urine.

What Do The Test Results Mean

Because there are three tests that are typically conducted for the Lyme disease blood test, then results can vary based on the combination of test results received. When all three tests are positive, then Lyme disease is likely. These other result combinations are usually interpreted in the following ways.

Positive IgM, Negative IgG, Negative Western Blot.This usually indicates that the Lyme disease infection is in its early stages or that the blood test has produced a false positive result.

Negative IgM, Positive IgG, Positive Western Blot.This is usually interpreted as having a late-stage Lyme disease infection. It may also be an indication that someone had a previous infection that has been removed from the body.

All results negative.This is usually interpreted as there not being any infection present and that the symptoms are being caused by another issue. In some specific instances, however, it can also be seen as the antibody levels being too low to detect.

Once Lyme disease is confirmed, there will almost always be detectable levels of the bacteria which causes the disease in the IgG antibodies in their blood. This will mean that their IgG blood test results will have a standard deviation in what is considered as normal because of the presence of the disease, even if it has been effectively cured.

Key Points To Remember

  • Most Lyme disease tests are designed to detect antibodies made by the body in response to infection.
  • Antibodies can take several weeks to develop, so patients may test negative if infected only recently.
  • Antibodies normally persist in the blood for months or even years after the infection is gone therefore, the test cannot be used to determine cure.
  • Infection with other diseases, including some tickborne diseases, or some viral, bacterial, or autoimmune diseases, can result in false positive test results.
  • Some tests give results for two types of antibody, IgM and IgG. Positive IgM results should be disregarded if the patient has been ill for more than 30 days.

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Tbrf And B Burgdorferi Sensu Lato Real

Sample type: Serum, Whole blood, CSF, Urine, Pooled Urines and miscellaneous clinical samples

The TBRF Borrelia and B. burgdorferi sensu lato real-time PCR test detects Relapsing Fever Borrelia DNA and B. burgdorferi sensu lato DNA. It further speciates RF Borrelia to subgroup that includes B. turcatae, B. miyamotoi, B. parkeri, B. coriaceae, and B. recurrentis. DNA is extracted from clinical samples. The extracted DNA is amplified by real-time PCR with Borrelia specific DNA primers RF Borrelia DNA is detected by RF Borrelia genus probe, speciated to RF Borrelia subgroup by RF Borrelia species probe and B. burgdorferi sensu lato DNA is detected by the B. burgdorferi specific probe simultaneously. The primers and probes used for the selection of RF Borrelia and B. burgdorferi sensu lato DNA fragments are designed from published small subunit ribosomal RNA sequences of RF Borrelia group and B. burgdorferi sensu lato group. For diagnostic purposes PCR results should be used in conjunction with other data available to the physician.


RF Borrelia Genus
Positive: RF Borrelia DNA was detected.
Negative: RF Borrelia DNA was not detected in the sample analyzed.
RF Borrelia Subgroup Species
Positive: RF Borrelia species DNA was detected.
Negative: RF Borrelia species DNA was not detected in the sample analyzed.
B. burgdorferi sensu lato
Positive: B. burgdorferi sensu lato DNA was detected.
Negative: Borrelia DNA was not detected in the sample.

Who Should Get Testing

The Lyme Maze: How to Interpret Your Blood Work

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:

  • Early localized: In this initial phase, symptoms are normally found only near the tick bite. This early stage is called erythema migrans and involves a noticeable rash that typically develops within a few weeks after being bitten.
  • Early disseminated: In this phase, the bacteria move through the blood to affect other parts of the body and can cause general symptoms like fever, headaches, and pain. In some cases, the bacteria can affect the heart or nervous system.
  • Late disease: This phase occurs long after the initial tick bite and most often includes symptoms affecting the joints or nervous system.
  • 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:

    • heparin

    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.

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    How To Read Western Blot Test Results

    The Western Blot Test does not actually test for the presence of Lyme disease. It tests indirectly by looking for antibodies made by your immune system agains Lyme disease bacteria, spirochetes, which causes Lyme disease.

    Western Blot Bands description:

    Cross-reactive means it could indicate other spirochetes.

    Specific means it only happnes when Lyme disease is present.

    Borellia or Bb is Lyme disease.


    22 specific for Bb, probably really the 23/25 band23-25 outer surface protein C , specific for Bb 28 outer surface protein D Oms28 specific for Bb 30 OspA substrate binding protein common in European and one California strain31 outer surface protein A , specific for Bb34 outer surface protein B specific for Bb35 specific for Bb38 cross-reactive for Bb39 is a major protein of Bb flagellin specific for Bb41 flagellin protein of all spirochetes this is usually the first to appear after a Bb infection45 cross-reactive for all Borellia 50 cross-reactive for all Borrellia55 cross-reactive for all Borrellia57 cross-reactive for all Borrellia58 unknown but may be a heat-shock Bb protein60 cross reactive for all Borrellia66 cross-reactive for all Borrelia, common in all bacteria 83 specific antigen for the Lyme bacterium, probably a cytoplasmic membrane93 unknown, probably the same protein in band 83, just migrates differently in some patients

    The bands highlighted in RED above are very specific for Lyme disease.

    How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed

    How To Test For Lyme Disease

    The traditional blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease have been replaced by two new tests called the C6 test and Quantitative C6 test .

    The C6 test is a preliminary blood test that detects antibodies against a very specific protein called C6. This protein is unique to the Borrelia bacteria, and the presence of antibodies to C6 suggests exposure to Borrelia and infection. The C6 antibodies can be detected as soon as four weeks after a dog is bitten by an infected tick, and may be found in the blood stream even before the dog shows signs of illness. The C6 test is often offered as part of a special test kit that looks for other tick-borne diseases. The test can be done by your veterinarian in-clinic or the blood sample can be sent to an outside laboratory for testing.

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    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

    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 centre. 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.

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    Laboratory Testing In Vaccinated Individuals

    In 1998 the Food and Drug Administration approved a recombinant OspA vaccine for use in patients at risk of acquiring LD . Since the efficacy of the vaccine is reported to be in the range of 76% after three doses, there will be instances where vaccinated individuals acquire natural infection with B. burgdorferi sensu lato. ELISAs and IFA assays utilizing OspA-producing strains of B. burgdorferi sensu lato will not discriminate between vaccinated and naturally infected individuals. Therefore, the CDC two-step algorithm is not applicable to vaccinated patients and immunoblotting must be relied on for serologic confirmation of infection. In addition to increasing costs, the issue is complicated further by reports that some vaccinated patients produce antibodies that bind to various borrelial proteins, making interpretation of immunoblots more difficult . This will continue to be problematic until ELISAs and other first-line assays based on non-OspA-producing strains or recombinant borrelial proteins are in widespread use and physicians become aware of the specific limitations of the testing methods provided by their laboratories .

    Lyme Disease Test Two

    How to Read Lyme Test Results: 13 Steps (with Pictures ...

    Two-tiered Lyme disease testing uses two tests. The first is a screening test that should detect anyone who might have the disease. Tests that do this well have are regarded as having high sensitivity. This test is followed by a second test that is intended to make sure that only people with the disease are diagnosed. Tests that do this well have high specificity.

    HIV/AIDS is diagnosed with tests that are both highly sensitive and highly specific. They are accurate more than 99% of the time. In Lyme disease, the second test is highly specific. So there are few false positives. Unfortunately, the screening test is highly insensitive and fails to accurately identify patients who have Lyme disease. The two-tiered test system misses roughly 54% of patients.

    Because of this, LDo recommends the patients and physicians skip the ELISA and go straight to the Western blot.

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    What Do My Test Results Mean

    If youve received a Lyme titer blood test, then it is important to always receive a second opinion from a disease literate doctor. Not every provider has experience with Lyme disease, especially in areas that are not prone to the ticks that spread it. The test results may be misinterpreted, which is why a second opinion is mandatory.

    Most people who have the Lyme titer blood test will have a negative result. This means that not only do they not have an active infection of the disease, but theyve never been infected by the bacteria that is spread by the ticks that carry it in theory. If a doctor suspects Lyme disease and prescribes antibiotics for early intervention, this can actually reduce the antibody response to the disease and make it undetectable, therefore creating the potential of a false negative.

    When there is a positive test, then this means that at some point in time, there was a bacterial infection. The body may have fought off the infection or it may have been removed by antibiotics. The level of antibodies that are present may also indicate the level of infection that is present. More antibodies may indicate an acute infection or a relapse of a chronic infection.

    How Do You Read Lyme Disease Test Results

    A positive result on both initial and confirmatory tests means that your signs and symptoms are likely caused by Lyme disease. A positive result for IgM antibody but negative results for IgG and Western blot may mean that you have a very recent infection or a positive when you do not have Lyme disease .

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    Lyme Disease Is Remarkably Difficult To Diagnose

    The problem with Lyme disease is that the bacteria can create a hard shell around themselves when inactive so that the blood tests are unable to detect them. This is especially true when the disease has reached the chronic stage. The timing of the symptoms is often used by a medical provider to establish a time line to a tick bite or exposure to a high-risk region where the disease is commonly transmitted.

    Because the ticks that can spread Lyme disease are often the size of a pinhead, the ticks might not even be notice. A bulls-eye rash at the bite location is a trademark symptom of Lyme disease, but only about half of the people who are infected with the bacteria develop the rash. Once the disease reaches the chronic stage, chronic arthritis, joint pain, and neurological symptoms begin to appear, sometimes several months after the infection.

    Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease

    Lyme Disease Blood Tests part 1

    DANIEL L. DEPIETROPAOLO, M.D., Christiana Care Health Services, Wilmington, Delaware

    JOHN H. POWERS, M.D., National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

    JAMES M. GILL, M.D., M.P.H., and ANDREW J. FOY, Christiana Care Health Services, Wilmington, Delaware

    Am Fam Physician. 2005 Jul 15 72:297-304.

    Patient information: See related handout about Lyme disease, written by the authors of this article.

    Lyme disease is a systemic illness resulting from infection with the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi.1 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definition for reportable cases of Lyme disease, the annual number of cases increased from 7,943 in 1990 to 17,730 in 2000.2,3 The disease is most prevalent in children two to 15 years of age and in adults 30 to 59 years of age.3Figure 14 shows the endemicity of Lyme disease in areas of the United States.


    Physicians should assess the pretest probability of a patient with suspected Lyme disease on the basis of clinical signs and symptoms and the likelihood of exposure.

    A = consistent, good-quality patient-oriented evidence B = inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence C = consensus, disease-oriented evidence, usual practice, expert opinion, or case series. For information about the SORT evidence rating system, see page 209 or.


    Figure 1.

    Figure 1.

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    Bartonella Species Igm Western Blot

    Bartonellosis is caused by Bartonella species, e.g. B. elizabethae, B. vinsonii, B. henselae, and B. quintana. Bartonellosis is a complex and progressively systemic illness which tends to mimic other diseases and is most likely known to be a co-infection with Lyme disease. Therefore, determination of specific antibodies is helpful in the diagnosis of Bartonellosis. The Bartonella IgG Western Blot panel detects specific antibodies in human serum to B. elizabethae, B. vinsonii, B. henselae, and B. quintana. IGeneX interpretation is based on internal validation studies.

    Interpretation:Positive: Presence of 2 or more specific antibodies to Bartonella antigen detected. If positive, species is determined.Indeterminate: Presence of one specific antibody to Bartonella antigen detected.Negative: No specific antibody to Bartonella antigen detected.

    Disclaimer: This test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by IGeneX, Inc. It has not been cleared or approved by the FDA. The FDA has determined that such approval is not necessary. The test is used for clinical purposes and should not be regarded as investigational or for research. IGeneX, Inc. is licensed by CMS and NYS to perform high complexity clinical laboratory testing.

    What Is A Lyme Disease Blood Test

    A Lyme disease blood test is used to determine if you have contracted Borrelia burgdorferi , the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Lyme disease tests are conducted with a routine blood draw.

    While there are other species of Borrelia that cause Lyme disease, B. burgdorferi is the most common cause in the United States. Most antibody tests in the United States only test for B. burgdorferi, but other species-specific tests are available depending on a persons travel history.

    Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through ticks that are infected with Borrelia.

    • dizziness
    • shortness of breath

    Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. Ticks are very small, and the bites are not always noticeable. Symptoms of the disease can vary from person to person. Not everyone experiences the classic bulls-eye rash pattern around a tick bite.

    It should be noted that testing is not always required to make a diagnosis. For people with a classic bulls-eye rash living in a high risk area, testing is not recommended for diagnosis.

    Your doctor will use the results of a Lyme disease antibody test, along with the report of your symptoms, to confirm a diagnosis.

    Antibodies are proteins your body makes in response to foreign or harmful substances called antigens. Common antigens include:

    • bacteria
    • fungi
    • chemicals

    If you have never been exposed to B. burgdorferi, you will not have any Lyme disease antibodies in your bloodstream. In this case, your test will be negative.

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