Is Treatment 100% Effective
Scientists are divided on this topic. Some studies suggest that that even long-term antibiotics may not completely clear infection dogs may get sick again at some point after antibiotic treatment is stopped. Other studies suggest that complete clearance of infection is possible with antibiotic treatment. Further research is required to answer this question.
|Contributors: Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM Kristiina Ruotsalo, DVM, DVSc, Dip ACVP Margo S. Tant, BSc, DVM, DVSc|
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 one or 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 theyre ready. Follow the manufacturers instructions exactly as they are described.
Each test has different instructions, so its important to read the kits detailed information before getting started.
- swollen lymph nodes
Lyme disease that remains unnoticed or untreated can go on to progress to disseminated Lyme disease. With disseminated Lyme disease, symptoms can also include neurologic conditions, such as cranial nerve palsy and meningitis that mimics aseptic meningitis. Heart inflammation can also be a sign of Lyme disease.
You may want to get tested for Lyme disease if youre experiencing symptoms and you either:
- know you were bitten by a tick
- recently spent time in an area where ticks are common
However, if youre currently experiencing a bulls-eye rash, its best to go to a doctor rather than take an at-home test. Thats because the outlook for Lyme disease is best when treated early.
When choosing at-home Lyme disease tests to feature, we looked at:
- ease of directions
- Collection method: blood
- Results: 25 days
Social Media Health News And Health Books
Social media websites and apps are online communities through which people can connect with friends, family, and strangers. Social media is one way people share health information and news stories with each other. Some of this information may be true, but too often some of it is not. Recognize that just because a post is from a friend or colleague, it does not necessarily mean that the information is accurate, complete, or applicable to your health. Check the source of the information, and make sure the original author is credible. Fact-checking websites can also help you determine if a story is reliable.
Evaluating health information in books is similar to finding reliable information on websites or on social media. Make sure to check who wrote the book, how current the information is, and where the content came from. When in doubt, ask your health care provider about what you read.
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Trust Yourself And Talk With Your Doctor
Use your good judgment when gathering health information online. There are websites on nearly every health topic, and many have no rules for overseeing the quality of the information provided. Use the information you find online as one tool to become more informed. Dont count on any one website and check your sources. Discuss what you find with your doctor before making any changes to your health care.
Pcr Antigen Detection And Culture Testing
Other types of tests for Lyme disease include PCR , antigen detection, and culture testing. These tests look for the bacteria as opposed to the antigens created by your body in response to the bacteria.
A PCR test uses a portion of DNA from the borrelia bacteria to help with detection. Antigen testing looks for a specific protein of the Lyme bacteria to help diagnose Lyme disease and can identify infection in people who have had negative results using the ELISA and Western blot tests.
The final option is culture testing, which is highly regarded as the gold standard for diagnosis. Blood is taken from a person suspected of having Lyme disease, and the lab attempts to grow Lyme bacteria using the blood culture. This test is new, however, and the CDC has exercised caution against using it since there is only one commercially available culture test for Lyme disease.
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Elisa And Western Blot
The first part of the ELISA test acts as a preliminary investigation to see if further testing is needed. A negative result typically warrants no further testing, but a positive one does. The first test is highly sensitive and the second highly specific. This makes sure that only people with Lyme disease are diagnosed and treated.
The Western blot test is a type of blood test that aims to single out certain proteins known as antigens. It is used to identify an active infection of Lyme disease. Although sometimes accurate, however, this test is inherently flawed because methods and criteria for interpreting results can change from lab to lab.
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Lyme Igm And Igg 31kda Epitope Test
The Lyme IgG or IgM 31kDa Epitope** test is a qualitative immunoblot assay that determines whether the 31kDa band present on a Lyme Western Blot IgG or IgM is due to B. burgdorferi specific antibody or not.
Negative No visible bands present
It is known that Western blots, especially IgM, can give false positive results with some viral and bacterial infections. This test determines whether the band present at position 31 kDa on the IGeneX Lyme Western Blot IgM is specific for B. burgdorferi. Serum from the patient is tested against a Western Blot strip with fixed B. burgdorferi specific recombinant antigen fragments.
Best For A Quick Turnaround: Letsgetchecked Lyme Infection Test
LetsGetCheckeds kit tests for Borellia IgG and IgM antibodies through a fingerprick collection. The website states people should receive the test 57 days after ordering.
The company requires individuals to activate the kit, so they can collect the sample and send it back using the prepaid shipping label. They can then access their results on their online account within 25 days.
In addition, LetsGetCheckeds laboratories have a certification, meaning it is compliant with federal certifications.
Pros and cons
The LetsGetChecked Lyme Infection Test features the following advantages and disadvantages:
|the company health team will contact individuals directly if results require prompt attention||no receipt for health plan reimbursement|
The cost for the test is $89, with an additional $6 fee that covers the physicians visit.
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When Was The Information Written And Updated
Look for websites that stay current with their health information. You dont want to make decisions about your care based on out-of-date content. Often, the date the information was created and reviewed or updated will appear at the bottom of the page. Pages on the same site may be updated at different times, and some may be updated more often than others. Older information isnt useless, but using the most current, evidence-based information is ideal.
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:
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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.
How Will My Doctor Test Me For Lyme Disease
The CDC recommends two-step testing, sometimes referred to as a two-tiered test, for Lyme disease. You will need to go to a lab to have blood drawn. It takes a few days to get results.
If the first test comes back positive or unclear, the lab will do the second blood test. If the first test comes back negative, the CDC does not recommend the second test. However, according to the CDC the second test must be positive for you to be diagnosed with Lyme disease.
The first test: ELISA
This blood test is for antibodies against the Lyme disease bacteria. Because it can take some time for your body to produce antibodies, this test isnt always accurate soon after a person is infected.
The second test: Western Blot or a second ELISA
There are two options for the second test. One is called a Western blot, which looks at how your antibodies react to specific parts of the Lyme disease bacteria. The Western blot test has been part of the two-step testing system since 1994 and is more commonly used.
The other option is to do a second ELISA test, which measures antibodies to a specific protein found on Lyme disease bacteria. Because these tests are newer, not all doctors have experience with them and not all labs have access to them.
These tests can be run on the blood sample used for the first test. You should not need to go back to the lab.
A possible drawback of the two-step testing system
Which second test is best: ELISA or Western blot?
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Do I Need A Lyme Disease Test
Your doctor will consider whether your symptoms and risk factors suggest Lyme disease when deciding whether you need a Lyme test. Laboratory tests can support a clinical diagnosis, but should not be used on their own to confirm or rule out a current Lyme disease diagnosis.
Your doctor may also do tests to see if other conditions with similar or overlapping symptoms for example, thyroid disease, autoimmune disease, or other tick-borne diseases could be causing your symptoms. If you have been traveling, your doctor might test you for species of Borrelia that cause Lyme disease in other parts of the world.
If you think you may have Lyme disease, but your doctor hasnt considered it or has ruled it out before testing you for it, heres how you can start a conversation: Give your doctor a list of Lyme disease symptoms and risk factors , and ask them if, given your own symptoms and risk factors, Lyme disease could be a possible cause and whether you should be tested.
In some cases, a Lyme test may not be helpful. Using todays tests it is difficult to distinguish between current and previous infections, so if you were previously diagnosed with Lyme disease and may have been re-infected, your doctor should make the diagnosis based on your symptoms and risk factors.
When To Speak With A Doctor
Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to help prevent late Lyme disease and its symptoms, including chronic Lyme arthritis and Lyme carditis.
A person should consult with a doctor if they have a tick bite or believe a tick has bitten them after visiting tick-prone regions.
They should also seek medical help if they experience any signs and symptoms of Lyme disease. These
The following are commonly asked questions about Lyme disease tests.
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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.
Learn More About Lyme Disease Diagnosis Testing
Tests can not only help to diagnose a disease, but also to manage an illness. A good test can help a doctor assess the severity of disease, estimate the patients prognosis, monitor the course of disease progression, stability or resolution, detect relapse, and select drugs or adjust therapy. Unfortunately, a test with this capability does not exist for Lyme disease. To learn more about specific tests, visit: Lyme Disease Tests.
LymeDisease.org has developed a Lyme disease symptom checklist to help you document your exposure to Lyme disease and common symptoms for your healthcare provider. You will receive a report that you can print out and take with you to your next doctors appointment that may be helpful in your Lyme disease diagnosis.
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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.
A Practical Approach To The Diagnosis Of Lyme Borreliosis: From Clinical Heterogeneity To Laboratory Methods
- 1DSM-Department of Medical Sciences, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy
- 2ASU GI-Azienda Sanitaria Universitaria Giuliano Isontina, Trieste, Italy
Clinical evaluation of Lyme Borreliosis is the starting point for its diagnosis. The patient’s medical history and clinical symptoms are fundamental for disease recognition. The heterogeneity in clinical manifestations of LB can be related to different causes, including the different strains of Borrelia, possible co-infection with other tick transmitted pathogens, and its interactions with the human host. This review aims at describing the heterogeneous symptoms of Lyme Borreliosis, as well as offering a practical approach for recognition of the disease, both in terms of clinical features and diagnostic/research tools.
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Limitations Of Blood Tests:
There are however, a few limitations of such blood tests, namely, the fact that the patient could be suspected of having the disease and if recommended by the doctor to get the test done, it could possibly lead to a false negative. A false negative occurs when the patient has been tested too early for the antibodies to be detected by the test, and therefore, resulting in the conclusion that the infection is not present. This can prove to be dangerous as a false negative can cause a doctor to rule out the possibility of Lyme Disease and therefore move towards a different path. This can prove to be costly for the patient in both monetary and health terms as resources and time will be wasted.
However, if you feel that you are infected and have Lyme Disease and you have recently visited woody areas, it is likely that you may have this disease. Moreover, if you are showing some of the above mentioned symptoms, especially a bulls-eye type rash, please consult a doctor soon.
Physician’s Order Request Policy
Please note that these services are not intended for any emergency medical situations. If you are having a life-threatening or serious condition that may require hospitalization, including, but not limited to, high-grade fever low or high blood pressure active serious infection, including, but not limited to, COVID chest pain shortness of breath severe pain or stroke-like symptoms, please call 911 immediately or go to a nearby emergency center as quickly as possible.