How To Test A Tick For Lyme Disease
If you have found this page, you may have found a tick on you, someone in your family or on a pet. Its great that your are being proactive and looking into getting the tick tested. This can bring you peace of mind and let you know the risks of developing an infection. Please read below for instructions on what to do to get the tick tested for Lyme disease and other co infections. Thank you for learning more about TickCheck!
Alternative Diagnostic Tests Not Available At Ripl
Tests used in the NHS and PHE to identify Lyme disease are well characterised, standardised, and are highly reproducible between laboratories. They are the methods of choice recommended in the 2018 NICE Lyme disease guideline, following an extensive review of the evidence and literature. International external quality assurance schemes are in place to ensure consistency between different centres offering these tests.
Several private laboratories in Europe and the USA offer an alternative type of test called an ELISpot to diagnose Lyme disease. This looks for different markers in blood samples compared to conventional validated Lyme disease serology tests. The laboratories using these tests in the diagnosis of Lyme disease do not publish their methods, and have not produced any peer reviewed publications on their clinical value.
This makes it very difficult to verify their results, especially as there are no national or international EQA schemes for Lyme disease ELISpot tests and therefore no independent verification of performance between laboratories. Without independent evidence it is impossible to determine the validity of results produced using these alternative tests.
RIPL cannot interpret the results of alternative diagnostic tests.
Look How Far Ive Come
My initial Lyme test was, in the words of my doctor, lit up like a Christmas tree. Pretty much everything on it was positive: 2 different strains of Lyme, babesia, bartonella, and mycoplasma. I was a mess.
This summer I had a repeat test. Everything came back negative. While this doesnt mean Im definitively negative for Lyme, it certainly indicates weve been able to reduce the load enough that its not showing up on the tests. Ill likely need to continue some level of treatment for quite some time.
There are many Lyme specialist who dont believe its ever possible to be completely cured of Lyme. Its a sneaky bacteria and good at hiding. Many believe, the best you can get is to effectively put yourself in remission and strengthen your immune system. This keeps the Lyme bacterial load low enough that the symptoms are kept at bay.
Another fantastic result of treatment has been a huge decrease in inflammation. My c4a levels were 20,749 when I was first diagnosed. Thats a lot. . At the beginning of this year, after about a year of treatment, they were down at 17,594. This September, I was delighted to see my levels down to 4,090. Im inching closer to being back in the normal levels.
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Serological Testing Of Serum For The Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease
The most commonly used tests look for antibodies to the Borrelia species that cause Lyme disease in the UK and Europe, but they also detect infections from strains of Borrelia from the US.
The antibody response takes several weeks to reach a detectable level, so antibody tests in the first few weeks of infection may be negative. If the first sample was taken within 4 weeks from the start of symptoms and is negative and there is a clinical suspicion of Lyme disease, then retesting in 4 to 6 weeks may be useful.
It is very rare for patients to have negative antibody tests in longstanding infections. Borrelia antibodies persist indefinitely in some patients and this does not indicate continuing disease or a need for re-treatment.
Serological testing for Lyme disease in the UK and much of the world follows a two-step approach using commonly available antibody screening tests as a first stage, followed by immuno-blotting of samples that give positive or indeterminate results in the screening tests.
Sensitive screening tests are used at the first stage of testing but have the disadvantage of occasionally detecting other diseases and producing false positive results. RIPL uses the C6 Lyme ELISA for screening
Samples giving positive or indeterminate preliminary screening test results are then tested in a more specific system to confirm the presence of Borrelia-specific antibodies. RIPL uses the Borrelia ViraChip® IgG, IgM test for this purpose
How To Remove A Tick Safely
Although the risk of Lyme disease is very low in Alberta, there are other tick-borne diseases that can be transmitted by ticks.
It is important to properly remove a tick as soon as possible. Removing a tick 24 to 36 hours after a tick bite usually prevents Lyme disease from developing.
If a tick is attached to your skin, you can safely remove it.
- Using tweezers, gently grasp its head and mouth parts as close to your skin as possible to avoid leaving mouthparts in the skin or crushing the tick.
- Without squeezing the tick, slowly pull the tick straight up off the skin do not jerk or twist it.
- Do not apply matches, cigarettes, dish soap, petroleum jelly or any other substance to the tick. This will not encourage the tick to detach and may cause it to release infectious blood back into the wound.
- Once the tick has been removed, clean the bite area with soap and water and disinfect the area with an antiseptic. Wash hands with soap and water.
- Consider submitting a photograph of the tick to the Submit-a-Tick program.
- If you do not plan to submit a photograph of the tick to the Submit-a-Tick program, you can kill the tick by placing it in a freezer for 24 hours, or putting it in rubbing alcohol. Once killed, dispose of it by flushing it down the toilet, or placing it in the garbage. Avoid crushing a tick with your fingers as they may be filled with blood and other infectious material.
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Treatment For Neurologic Lyme Disease
Facial palsy is treated with oral antibiotics and Lyme meningitis/radiculoneuritis can either be treated with oral or intravenous antibiotics, depending on severity . Most patients respond well to antibiotics and fully recover.
Varying degrees of permanent nervous system damage may develop in people who do not receive treatment in the early stages and develop late-stage Lyme disease.
The following regimens may need to be adjusted depending on a patients age, medical history, underlying health conditions, pregnancy status, or allergies. Consult an infectious disease specialist regarding individual patient treatment decisions.
How Do You Know If You Have Lyme Disease
The answer to the question Can I testmyself for Lyme disease? must be answered in two distinct parts. Diagnosticmethods for both acute and chronic Lyme disease are very different, with thelatter being a lot more problematic than the former. First, the good news:acute Lyme disease is relatively easy to self-diagnose in most cases, at leastin theory. Lyme is spread through the saliva of ticks, which transfer the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria to thebloodstreams of their human hosts. The acute stage of the disease begins soonafter a bite symptoms similar to the flu appear, although they are not alwayssevere. But the critical symptom for patients is the distinctive bullseye rashthat appears at the site of the bite. This takes the form of a circle inside alarger circle, and is one of the prime signs of Lyme disease. If you find this,you can almost assuredly self-diagnose Lyme, although of course you should alsosee a doctor right away with your concerns.
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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.
It’s not clear why this happens to some people and not others. This means there’s 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
How To Improve Heart Health
Anytime you have something irregular with the heart, you should have someone check it out, advises Dr. Rawls. The threshold for being evaluated for heart symptoms should be pretty low. In other words, if your heart feels off youre experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, an irregular heartbeat, or something else get to a doctor as soon as possible.
While testing can help pinpoint whats going on, it may not always be spot on the first time youre evaluated, and you might need to be persistent in pursuing a diagnosis. From one patient to another, Stewart says, When it comes to something serious like your heart, dont stop searching for answers. Trust your instincts, and dont ignore it.
Once you know what youre dealing with, you and your doctor can establish a plan of care, which may include antibiotics, particularly in the acute stages of Lyme disease. Other drug therapies include beta blockers and antiarrhythmic drugs, which might be necessary to stabilize your heart rate and prevent abnormal rhythms. However, those drugs can come with a long list of side effects, and the length of time you could be required to take them will differ from physician to physician and the severity of your illness.
1. To improve the hearts electrical rhythms and the strength of its contractions, and to enhance blood flow:
- Krill oil or fish oil, potent anti-inflammatories
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Tick Identification And Testing Services
MDPH does not offer tick identification or tick testing. While testing ticks can provide useful information, there are some notable issues:
- Positive or negative results from a tick or ticks attached to a person do not provide definitive evidence that that you were exposed or not exposed
- Most people diagnosed with a tick-borne disease are not aware that they have been bitten by a tick and the tick you do find may not be the only tick that bit you
- It is possible to be bitten by a tick carrying a disease and not be infected with that disease, depending on many factors, including how long the tick was attached to you
If you choose to have a tick tested, it is important to keep in mind the following:
What Is Lyme Carditis
Lyme carditis occurs when Lyme disease bacteria enter the tissues of the heart. This can interfere with the normal movement of electrical signals from the hearts upper to lower chambers, a process that coordinates the beating of the heart. The result is something physicians call heart block, which can vary in degree and change rapidly. Lyme carditis occurs in approximately one out of every hundred Lyme disease cases reported to CDC.
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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.
If You Find A Tick Along For The Ride Heres What You Need To Do
Use thin tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. Pull the tick straight upward with steady even pressure to remove the tick with the mouthparts intact. Squeezing the tick will not increase the risk of infection. Adult ticks are a lot more difficult to remove intact. If the mouthparts break off, the chance of getting Lyme disease is the same as if you hadnt removed the tick at all. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water. Watch for signs and symptoms of Lyme disease for up to 30 days.
See your doctor within 72 hours of the tick removal and if the tick removed was swollen. You may benefit from preventive antibiotics. This is especially important if you live in an area where deer ticks are common.
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How To Mail Your Tick:
We test Blacklegged Deer and Western Deer ticks in all sorts of conditions both nymphs and adults. Simply place your order and follow the instructions that will be emailed to you upon successful placement of the order.
Simply place the tick in a tightly sealed Zip-Lock bag with the order number written on the bag with permanent marker, then mail it to us here in Loudoun County, Virginia!Additional information on exactly how and where to mail the ticks to, will be emailed to you once you have placed your order.
IMPORTANT! Since COVID-19, we have been working with a very limited staff and on average receive anywhere between 20 to 50 or more ticks daily. Any ticks that we receive that do NOT have an Order Number on it will be Discarded or returned to sender.
Protect Yourself From Ticks
While most ticks do not cause serious health problems, it is important to protect yourself, your family and even your pets from tick bites. It is also important to remove attached ticks immediately in order to avoid potential infection or diseases that can be transmitted from the bite. Some tips to prevent tick bites include:
- Walk on cleared trails whenever possible and avoid walking in tall grassy or wooded areas.
- Wear light-coloured clothing and cover up as much skin as possible. For example, a hat, long-sleeved shirt and long pants with the legs tucked into socks or boots.
- Use a bug spray that contains the chemical DEET or Icaridin to repel ticks and reapply as frequently as directed.
- Check yourself for ticks after leaving a grassy or wooded area where ticks may live.
- Check your pets for ticks after they have been outside. You cannot get Lyme disease from your pet, but your pet can bring infected ticks inside. These ticks can fall off your pet and attach themselves to you.
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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.
Sample Types For Lyme Disease Testing
For routine Lyme disease serological testing, you must send a serum sample .
For testing for neurological Lyme disease, you must send paired CSF and serum samples taken on the same day. If possible, please provide CSF cell count and total albumin, IgG and IgM values. If albumin, IgG and IgM measurements are not available, RIPL will make arrangements for these measurements at additional cost.
PCR testing is available. We recommend that specialists call RIPL to discuss appropriate sample types for PCR. These may include joint fluid, biopsy tissue, CSF and EDTA plasma. Please submit biopsies as fresh tissue in a sterile container, ideally with a drop of sterile saline to prevent the tissue drying out.
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Tickchekcom Support Call Sheet
Can you test dead/live/crushed/preserved ticks?* TickChek uses Polychromase Chain Reaction to successfully extract and amplify data from even the most damaged samples. Yes, we can test it!
How does the order process work?1. Go to 2. Choose what kind of tick you have, or choose the free LAB IDENTIFY option3. Choose your tick testing package 4. Enter your contact information5. Complete your order and pay 6. Print out the Testing Receipt and mailing label that will be emailed to you7. Mail your tick and testing receipt to our laboratory8. Receive updates via email & SMS when tick is received, and when results are available
Statistics:* > 55% of ticks have been found to carry Lyme disease or at least one other tick-borne disease* About 20% of ticks carry Lyme disease, and 10% are co-infected with two or more diseases
What We Test For :
Tick Identification Chart:
A Reasonable Approach To Post
If you are being treated for PTLD, there is no magic bullet to treat this problem, but here are some important steps to consider:
- Choose a doctor you trust and who can work closely with you.
- If your doctor agrees to start antibiotics for several months, make sure you talk about the risks and cost, as this can be dangerous and expensive.
- Make sure not to rely solely on antibiotics. The evidence for a benefit from antibiotics is weak, and we rely mostly on physicians clinical experience and interest in the disease to design a personalized therapeutic plan. For some, a more holistic approach may be the way to go.
- If you try supplements, ask about their source and purity, as they are not FDA-regulated.
- Consider looking for services in medical school hospitals or clinics where they may have programs with ongoing research on how to diagnose and treat Lyme.
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