Home Editor Picks What Is The Most Accurate Lyme Disease Test

What Is The Most Accurate Lyme Disease Test


Understanding Of Lab Tests Results

Why Lyme testing isn’t always accurate

Please visit the site associated with The American Association for Clinical Chemistry for better understanding of tests. There you will find the most detailed and full information regarding lab tests. In common questions tab you will find answers on the most common questions.

In addition, you can use a special form to ask the question. It is useful, if there is no answer on your question on the web site. A laboratory scientist will answer your question. It is a part of voluntary service provided by the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.

Terms And Definitions For Lyme Tests

To help understand when to use a test or the meaning of a result physicians consider the test sensitivity, specificity, prevalence, and predictive value.

Sensitivity is the ability of a test to find an illness in all people with the illness.

Specificity is the ability of a test to correctly identify people without an illness from all people who do not have the illness.

Sensitivity and specificity are related. In general if a test is very sensitive and can find a very high percentage of people with an infection it is usually less specific. Sensitivity is the ability to find an infection when present while specificity indicates the accuracy of the positive test. A highly sensitive test often has many false positives and a lower specificity.

Let me use a fishing analogy. To catch 100% of salmon in a one mile square section of the ocean using a net a fishing boat will also capture many mackerel, halibut and other fish. That is to say it is very sensitive for finding all of the salmon. However fishing for all of those salmon using a net is not that specific because many other types of fish are also pulled in.

Prevalence is the amount of an illness as percentage or proportion of certain population.

Medically Approved By Dr Edward Salko Md

Dr. Edward Salko is the board-certified physician who reviews lab tests provided by PERSONALABS. He earned his Bachelor of Science in chemistry and pre-med from the University of Florida in Gainesville and his Doctor of Osteopathy Medicine in 1980 from Kansas City University School of Medicine.

Dr. Salkos career has specialized in family and emergency medicine. His passion is to provide clients with the tools they need in the most convenient way possible to allow them to take charge of their own healthcare. He has held a variety of positions in Kansas, Florida and Washington. Currently, in addition to his duties as Medical Director for Personalabs, he is a practicing emergency physician in Kennewick, Washington.

Recommended Reading: Lyme Disease Upper Back Pain

Testing For Lyme Disease At Home

People can find many at-home Lyme disease tests online.

They typically come with instructions, and most companies require individuals to collect their samples at home and mail it to a lab for testing. The lab then issues the results, and a person can access them via email or through a companys online portal.

People may also be able to speak with a companys medical team to discuss their results and, if applicable, any next steps.

MNT chooses at-home tests that meet the following criteria where possible:

  • Laboratories: Where possible, MNT will choose companies that process test samples in

Other Diagnostic Tests For Lyme Disease

Pin on Lyme

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.

Read Also: What Are The Effects Of Lyme Disease On The Body

What Is The Difference Between This Indirect Blood Diagnostic Test And A Direct Test

Direct diagnostic tests measure the presence of the bacteria directly and are much more reliable than tests looking for indirect measurement of antibodies that measure a persons immune response to an infection. Lyme disease diagnoses and disease management would benefit from validated diagnostic tests that directly measure the infection such as a culture, PCR test, or antigen detection tests. Direct tests are vital to the management of other infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis C, strep, and COVID-19, but have not yet become widely available for Lyme disease.

You May Like: The Cowden Protocol For Lyme Disease

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.

You May Like: Is Lyme Disease Rash Itchy

Recommended Reading: What Do Ticks That Carry Lyme Disease Look Like

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:

Lyme Disease Diagnostics Research

Rapid test for Lyme disease

There is a great need to develop rapid, point-of-care tests to determine whether people are infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. NIAID is committed to improving Lyme disease diagnostics by supporting innovative research projects.

Priorities include finding potential targetssubstances that new diagnostic tools might measure in patient samplesand improving the sensitivity and specificity of currently available diagnostic tests, thereby leading to more accurate results.

Recommended Reading: Tick Bite Pictures With Lyme Disease

Is There An Aphl Guide For Interpreting Lyme Disease Serologic Test Results

New! APHL Guidance and Interpretation of Lyme Disease Serologic Test Results This report describes the proper interpretation of serologic testing for B. burgdorferi and identifies best practices for reporting results to clinicians, public health agencies, and patients.

How long does it take to get Lyme disease test results?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a two-step blood test for diagnosing Lyme disease that looks for antibodies against Lyme disease. These tests require specialized laboratory equipment and can require days or weeks to return results. Faster, more sensitive Lyme test?

Are There Any Risks To Lyme Disease Tests

There is very little risk to having a blood test or a lumbar puncture.

With 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.

With a CSF test, you may feel a little pinch or pressure when the needle is inserted. After the test, you may feel some pain or tenderness in your back where the needle was inserted.

You may also have some bleeding at the site or get a headache. The headache may last for several hours or up to a week or more, but your provider may suggest treatment to help relieve the pain.

Don’t Miss: Can You Donate A Kidney If You Have Lyme Disease

An Introduction To Lab Testing

Lyme disease tests can serve as valuable resources for the diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne disease. But its important not to get too hung up on the results.

The problem of chronic Lyme disease, cant be solved exclusively by looking at lab results, which is something I know from personal experience. In fact, becoming overly obsessed with lab results can hinder the recovery process.

Lab work provides a snapshot of whats going on inside your body. But multiple other factors including your symptoms, the length of time youve had them, and clinical presentation, as well as the environments in which you live, work, and travel all factor into making an accurate diagnosis.

Furthermore, the human body is an immensely complex biological machine, with millions of different biochemical functions happening simultaneously. Lab tests provide an ever-so-small glimpse at certain key functions of different systems in the body. From those indicators, determinations can be made about how well the body is functioning and whether illness is present.

Laboratory assessment, however, is far from absolute. Because the human body is so complex, the ability of lab testing to predict a specific chronic illness, such as one from a tick-borne disease, is often limited. All labs are subject to variability and different interpretations.

Dont Miss: Lyme Disease And Nervous System

Interpreting The Igm Western Blot Test: The 1

Pin on Lyme Disease

If clinical symptoms and signs of Lyme disease have been present for more than 1 month, IgM reactivity alone should not be used to support the diagnosis, in view of the likelihood of a false-positive test result in this situation. This is called the 1-month rule in the diagnosis of Lyme disease.

In early localized infection, Western blot is only half as sensitive as ELISA testing. Since the overall sensitivity of a 2-step algorithm is equal to that of its least sensitive component, 2-tiered testing is not useful in early disease.

Although currently considered the most specific test for confirmation of Lyme disease, Western blot has limitations. It is technically and interpretively complex and is thus not universally available. The blots are scored by visual examination, compromising the reproducibility of the test, although densitometric blot analysis techniques and automated scanning and scoring attempt to address some of these limitations. Like the ELISA, Western blot can have false-positive results in healthy individuals without tick exposure, as nonspecific IgM immunoblots develop faint bands. This is because of cross-reaction between B burgdorferi antigens and antigens from other microorganisms. Around 50% of healthy adults show low-level serum IgG reactivity against the FlaB antigen, leading to false-positive results as well. In cases in which the Western blot result is indeterminate, other etiologies must be considered.

Read Also: Lyme Disease And Hearing Loss

How Much Do At

Generally, at-home Lyme disease tests cost around $100, while others may cost closer to $500. The difference comes down to how many pathogens you are hoping to test for. On average, the test will look for two or three, but more expensive tests may screen for 10 to 15.

Depending on your insurance and which test you select, it may be covered. Another option is to pay for the Lyme disease test with your HSA/FSA, since some companies will accept that as a payment form.

Testing Positive Now What

If you had started taking antibiotics right after you were infected or within a short period of time, theres a good chance that the antibiotics would resolve your Lyme infection.

However, if you were bitten years ago and didnt realize it, your infection has likely progressed to a chronic, late-stage infection.

And unfortunately, antibiotics are just not up to the task of clearing this kind of late-stage Lyme infection.

If antibiotics resolved late-stage Lyme infections, you wouldnt see so many people suffering these long term infections .

Dr. Minkoff has spent 23 years refining and perfecting the Minkoff Lyme Protocol which resolves late-stage Lyme infections 94% of the time, using powerful, all-natural therapies to both eradicate these deep infections and reverse the accumulated damage caused by Lyme.

Watch these Lyme Treatment Testimonials!

Read Also: Chinese Herbs For Lyme Disease

Who Should Not Be Tested

The American College of Physicians recommends against testing in patients:

  • Presenting with nonspecific symptoms without objective signs of Lyme disease

  • With low pretest probability of infection based on epidemiologic exposures and clinical features

  • Living in Lyme-endemic areas with no history of tick exposure

  • Presenting less than 1 week after tick exposure

  • Seeking a test of cure for treated Lyme disease.

Complications Caused By Lyme Disease

Think the Lyme Disease Rash is Always a Bull’s-eye? Think Again! | Johns Hopkins Rheumatology

Lyme disease can affect any organ in your body. However, it primarily causes damage to your skin, brain, nerves, joints, muscles, heart, and lymph nodes. Once the infection sets in, the immune system becomes weakened as leukocytes, or the immune cells, fight off the bacteria.

Moreover, a 2020 published study by researchers from John Hopkins showed that Lyme disease could trigger an autoimmune disorder. Their research uncovered the ability of Borrelia burgdorferi to evade dendritic cells. As a result, instead of attacking the bacteria, the immune cells now attack healthy cells.

Recommended Reading: Lyme Disease And Cognitive Impairment

What Do My Test Results Mean

If both tests come back positive, that means you have had Lyme disease at some point in time.

If either or both of your tests come back negative, your doctor may still diagnose Lyme disease, particularly if you recently developed Lyme-like symptoms, regardless of your test results. But, if your doctor does not diagnose you with Lyme disease, you can ask to be re-tested in a few weeks. If you do have Lyme disease, your body may build up sufficient antibodies by that point to be detected by a blood test.

Two-step blood testing for later stages of Lyme disease is more accurate than for early infection because your body should have had sufficient time to produce the antibodies detected by diagnostic tests.

Interpreting the Western blot test

The Western blot test looks at whether you have an immune response the production of IgM or IgG antibodies to specific proteins on the Lyme disease bacteria. IgM antibodies are usually made by your body when the infection is new and recent, while IgG antibodies are usually made some weeks later. When the IgM or IgG antibodies combine with specific proteins from the Lyme disease bacteria, this produces dark spots, or bands on the Western blot test strip.

The CDC considers a Western blot test to be positive for Lyme disease if at least two of three IgM bands are positive within 30 days of symptom onset, or five of 10 IgG bands are positive at any time.

If your Western blot test comes back negative, ask your doctor:

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.

You May Like: Lyme Disease Joint Pain Symptoms

A False Negative Test Leads To Misdiagnosis

Because your test comes back negative, your doctor will look for other reasons why youre having all these strange symptoms.

That will lead the doctor to often misdiagnose you with either rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression, multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease, or some other neurological disease or condition.

Its scary enough to experience these weird Lyme symptoms but then to be told you have some other dreadful health condition is even worse!

Can You Have A Positive Ana Test And Not Have An Autoimmune Disease

Cutter Lyme Disease Tick Test Kit 99.9 Accurate Diagnosis for sale ...

A negative test for ANA may assist health care providers by decreasing the likelihood that a patients symptoms are caused by an autoimmune disease. Some individuals, even those without a relative with autoimmune disease, may have a positive test for ANA and yet never develop any autoimmune disease.

Also Check: Is There A Home Test For Lyme Disease