How Will Pregnancy Affect Treatment For Lyme Disease
Early treatment of Lyme disease during pregnancy is important. Thats because if Lyme disease is untreated, it can affect the placenta. According to the CDC , the transmission of Lyme disease from mother to fetus is possible, though rare.
For pregnant people, treatment includes a round of antibiotics. Certain treatments for Lyme disease may not be used, as they can affect the fetus. If you suspect that you have Lyme disease, talk with a healthcare professional immediately.
What We Look For In The Best Lyme Disease Tests
There are a few important criteria we look for when choosing a test for Lyme disease. Some may be of higher priority to you than others, but all are worth considering while you decide.
- Trustworthiness: Does the company have positive reviews from real customers. Do they test your samples in accredited labs?
- Value-for-money: Does the Lyme disease cost come at a fair price with no pricey add-ons?
- Actionability: Does your report guide you towards the next steps following a positive result? Is experienced medical advice available?
- Speedy Results: Are your results delivered in a timely manner so you can take any required action as soon as possible?
- Report Clarity: Can you understand your results? Is support available if you require further explanation?
- IgG and IgM antibody test for Lyme disease bacteria
- CLIA and Cap-accredited labs
The Lyme disease test from LetsGetChecked analyzes your blood sample for reactivity to Borrelia IgG and IgM antibodies Borrelia is the bacteria carried by some ticks, that causes Lyme disease. A large concentration of IgM can indicate recent infection, while a higher concentration of IgG may indicate a Lyme disease infection thats been present for a while.
If you test positive, a member of the nursing team will call you to discuss your results and treatment options. If you need any additional support, the nursing team is available 24/7 to answer any questions that may have slipped your mind during your consultation.
Investigation Of Suspected Neurological Lyme Disease
The diagnosis of neurological Lyme disease can only be confirmed by examination of the CSF and a paired serum sample. A definite diagnosis is based on the presence of a pleocytosis in the CSF, demonstration of intrathecal synthesis of specific antibodies to Borrelia species in CSF by comparison to serum and the presence of neurological symptoms. It is not possible to confirm intrathecal synthesis and hence definite neurological Lyme disease without a paired serum .
In 2018 RIPL introduced a service for the detection of intrathecal synthesis of Borrelia-specific antibodies which is summarised in this flow diagram. An accessible text version of this flowchart is available below.
Clinicians may ask for guidance on laboratory testing of CSF from RIPL if required.
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Are Lyme Disease Tests Accurate
Most at-home Lyme disease test kits screen for certain IgG and IgM antibodies that are part of the immune response against an infected tick bite. It takes time for these antibodies to appear in the bloodstream, and therefore a Lyme disease test will typically be most accurate once these antibodies have developed.
If you take a test too early, you may receive a false negative, as antibodies are not yet present in the blood, despite you having the infection. It takes between four and six weeks for antibodies to be detectable.
Whether you test positive for Lyme disease antibodies or not, you should still follow up with your healthcare provider. The results of an at-home Lyme disease test should not be taken as an official diagnosis for the condition.
What Abnormal Results Mean
A positive ELISA result is abnormal. This means antibodies were seen in your blood sample. But, this does not confirm a diagnosis of Lyme disease. A positive ELISA result must be followed up with a Western blot test. Only a positive Western blot test can confirm the diagnosis of Lyme disease.
For many people, the ELISA test remains positive, even after they have been treated for Lyme disease and no longer have symptoms.
A positive ELISA test may also occur with certain diseases not related to Lyme disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
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What If Your Lyme Disease Test Is Positive
Its important to note that a positive result doesnt mean you have a diagnosis of Lyme disease. The tests will show that antibodies are present in your blood, but a doctor will need to order another type of test before you get an official diagnosis.
If someone gets a positive at-home test, definitely see your doctor, says Puja Uppal, DO, a board certified family medicine physician and the chief medical officer at Think Healthy.
A doctor will likely order both an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and a Western blot test, which check for antibodies specific to Borrelia burgdorferi. They will consider the results of both these tests, along with your symptoms, to make an accurate diagnosis.
Lyme Disease Test Western Blot
Labs performing a Western blot use electricity to separate proteins called antigens into bands. The read-out from the Western blot looks like a bar code. The lab compares the pattern produced by running the test with your blood to a template pattern representing known cases of Lyme disease. If your blot has bands in the right places, and the right number of bands, it is positive.
The CDC requires 5 out of 10 bands for a positive test result. However, because some bands on the Western blot are more significant than others your doctor may decide you have Lyme disease even if your Western blot does not have the number of bands or specific bands recommended by the CDC. Different laboratories use different methods and criteria for interpreting the test, so you can have a positive test result from one lab and a negative test result from another.
For a comprehensive explanation of the western blot test, download Understanding Western Blot Lyme disease test.
The chart below will help you understand how to interpret the western blot test.
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Traditional Lyme Disease Tests Are Not Specific Enough
Lyme disease is caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia. There are multiple species and strains of Lyme borreliae . Therefore, tests must be targeted to these multiple species and strains in order to be able to detect them. If a patient is infected with a species or strain of Lyme borreliae that their test cant detect, they will get a false-negative test result and thus risk missing their diagnosis. This can be costly and dangerous.
Many ELISA and Western blot Lyme disease tests are only equipped to detect one strain of one species of Borrelia: Borrelia burgdorferi B31 . This means that those tests are missing infections caused by other strains and/or species of Lyme borreliae.
In one internal study designed to test the validity of the IGeneX ImmunoBlot against traditional Western blot tests, a total of 132 patients were tested by both Lyme Western blots and Lyme IB. 43 patients were seropositive on the ImmunoBlot, and 14 were positive on standard Western blots prepared from a mixture of two species for Bb ss B31 and 297. Thus 29 of the 43 patients tested negative on Western blots i.e., the Western blot totally missed their infections with strains other than Bb ss B31 and 297.
With such limited tests, patients infected with non-B31 species and strains e.g., B. mayonii, B. californiensis, or European species are at risk of receiving false negatives and missing the chance to treat their diseases.
Lab Testing For Lyme Disease Is Notoriously Tricky Even For Trained Doctors
Gold-standard Lyme disease tests are still murkymeaning a kit you buy online may be even less reliable.
Researchers determine the validity of most disease screening tests by looking at two factors.4 The first is sensitivity, which refers to how accurately a test identifies people who have the markers of a disease . The second is specificity, which refers to how well a test identifies people who dont have the markers of a disease .
In general the recommended lab tests for Lyme disease can lack both. There are a lot of false positives out there , and thats always been a problem, Raymond J. Dattwyler, MD, a professor of microbiology, immunology, and medicine at New York Medical College, tells SELF.
There are numerous reasons for potential inaccuracies. Some Western blot tests dont look for every type of protein band related to Lyme disease, for example, which could skew results, according to both Dr. Dattwyler and Samuel Shor, MD, FACP, former president of the International Lyme & Associated Diseases Society and clinical associate professor of health care sciences at George Washington University. Even if you take one that does, IgG and IgM antibodies may not develop until weeks after you become infected, so testing too soon can lead to false negatives, Dr. Shor says.
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When A Lyme Diagnosis Is Tricky
There are several reasons it can be hard to diagnose Lyme disease.
Tests are less accurate for a short period of time after you first become infected. Thats because Lyme tests look for proteins created by your immune system to help you fight off infection , rather than for the infection itself, and it can take a few weeks for your body to make enough antibodies to cause a positive test.
The only sure sign of Lyme disease is an erythema migrans rash, which often has a bullseye shape. But up to 30% of people who get Lyme disease never get a rash. It is also possible that a person may not notice a rash before it goes away.
Symptoms of Lyme disease like fever and body aches can also be caused by other illnesses. This may result in Lyme diagnoses being missed because symptoms are attributed to another illness.
Using todays tests, it is difficult to distinguish between an old Lyme disease infection and a new one.
Thats why Lyme disease cases may be missed, and as many as 40% of Lyme disease cases are not diagnosed until a later stage of the disease. By that time, Lyme disease is harder to treat, and long-term complications are more likely, so an early, accurate diagnosis is very important.
Figuring Out Your Exposure
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Bottom Line: Experts Say At
I would be a bit hesitant and a bit skeptical about using them, Dr. Dattwyler says. Home tests may not be covered by your insurance company if you have insurance, but it is typically an accepted health care expense if you have a flexible spending account or a health savings account . These tests can run anywhere between about $90 to $120, according to various at-home test company websites. So initially, this may cost less than getting tested through a medical provider if you dont have insurance or if your insurance doesnt cover Lyme disease testing.
But its not that simple. Again: Testing for Lyme disease is far from perfect even when its done in a qualified lab and analyzed by an expert. Add on the margin for user erroryoud need to collect a perfect blood sample during the ideal post-infection window and it would need to make it to its destination intactand youve got a recipe for misleading results.
Plus, even if you do test positive for Lyme disease using an at-home kit, you still need to see a doctor. Chances are, your physician wont accept an at-home test in place of a standard laboratory test, so they would likely recommend going through the official process anyway. They will also need to do a thorough assessment of your overall health because diagnosing Lyme relies on more information than a lab test alone, Dr. Dattwyler says.
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, IgG 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 albumin and total IgG levels compared between the 2 sample types to produce a meaningful result.
For necessary sample types and volumes see Sample types for Lyme disease testing.
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Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About Lyme Disease Tests
At-home test kits for Lyme disease are available. To do these tests, you usually collect a drop of blood from your finger and send it to a lab for testing. If you want to do an at-home test, it’s important to talk with your provider first. Some at-home tests may use lab methods that aren’t proven to work, so your results may not be accurate.
Question 3 Is There A Molecular Test For Lyme Disease
One example of a molecular test for Lyme disease at Quest is the Lyme Disease DNA, Qualitative Real-Time PCR, Blood . Amplification of Borrelia genomic DNA from blood, fluids or tissues can support the diagnosis of Lyme disease. Click here for a list of this and other molecular tests for Lyme disease at Quest.
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Benefits And Downsides Of At
When considering at-home Lyme disease testing, itâs important to consider its distinct benefits and downsides.
Some of the primary benefits of at-home testing include:
- Testing on your schedule: With an at-home test, you can take the test at a time thatâs convenient for you and without the need to make an appointment or go to a medical office.
- Simple process: Most test kits are designed to streamline the process of preparing your test sample so that itâs quick and efficient.
- Fingerstick blood draw: For people who are uncomfortable with having their blood taken from their vein with a needle, a fingerstick blood draw may be preferable.
- Direct pricing: Although you will have to pay out-of-pocket, the total cost of an at-home test is usually transparent before making a purchase.
Some of the potential downsides of at-home Lyme disease testing include:
Question 5 How Do The Sttt And Mttt Detection Methodologies Compare
The MTTT appears to provide similar or improved sensitivity and specificity compared to the STTT. In a 356-sample retrospective study of a heterogenous cohort, specimens from healthy and disease control subjects and patients characterized as having stage I , stage II , or stage III Lyme disease were tested with both the STTT and MTTT approach.4 The results are summarized in Table 1. The MTTT methodology showed improved sensitivity relative to STTT for Lyme stages I and II, with statistically comparable sensitivity for stage III Lyme disease specificity did not differ significantly between the 2 methods.4
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Most Accurate: Dna Connexions
Does not accept insurance
No assistance after testing results are received
DNA ConneXions is a company known in the scientific community for its detailed analysis of lab results. This at-home Lyme disease test, for example, is superior to the others because it tests for all 10 vector-borne pathogens, while others only test the most common two or three.
DNA ConneXions earned our most accurate distinction because of its detailed Lyme disease test, as well as its impressive laboratory with a biosafety level 2 lab with a CLIA license. This means the company knows its stuff and is able to help people with accurate testing.
After DNA ConneXions receives your urine sample, it will review your sample, and email you your results within two to three weeks. It is unclear how much support the company offers after you receive your results, so it would be wise to schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor. This is to ensure that your body heals entirely if your Lyme disease test is positive.
This is the most expensive kit on this list, costing about $650 for the full Lyme panel. As of now, it will not work with insurance companies or accept HSA. The DNA ConneXions lab, however, is one of the most trusted laboratories worldwide.