Monday, September 19, 2022

When Should I Get Tested For Lyme Disease

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Does The Time Of Year Matter In The Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease

Testing for Lyme DiseaseWhat You Need to Know

Since Lyme disease is a tick-borne infection, the seasonality of the disease is linked tightly to the life cycle and behavior of ticks. May, June, July, and early August are the biggest risk months for acquiring first stage Lyme disease in the US. This is the feeding time for nymph and adolescent ticks which are difficult to see. A viral-like illness in those early summer months might be Lyme disease. There is also some transmission of Lyme disease via adult ticks in the fall and winter and throughout the year anytime the temperature is above 40 degrees, but to a lesser degree.

The risk of acute Lyme disease is more of a year-round risk in more temperate regions such as northern California and the pacific northwest. Later stage Lyme disease, however, can manifest at any time.

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.

The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease

Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

But itâs still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.

Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.

Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that live in woods, areas with long grass, and sometimes in urban parks and gardens. Theyâre found all over the UK.

Ticks do not jump or fly. They attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them.

Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.

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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.

Can Lyme Disease Be Detected By A Blood Test

My Lyme Disease and why you should get tested!

In a word: yes!

A blood test does not only detect Lyme disease it is the most accurate and preferred test for diagnosing the disease. If a patient with Lyme disease shows signs that the central nervous system has been affected by the disease, western blot testing on the cerebrospinal fluid can be performed. If ordering from Walk-In Lab, a doctors note is not needed. Just pick your Lyme disease test and place your order online.

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When Should I Get Checked For Lyme Disease

Generally, it is best to get tested for Lyme disease if you live where ticks are common or have recently visited such areas. Most certainly, you should get tested if you suspect that a tick has bitten you. It is important to talk to your doctor if you think you have any of the following early Lyme disease symptoms:

  • A rash resembling a bulls eye on the spot where youve been bitten

Other symptoms dont show up immediately. Sometimes, it takes up to a few weeks or months after the tick bite to notice the following:

  • Swelling on the joints or severe joint pain
  • Tingling in the feet and hands
  • Shortness of breath

While it is okay get checked early, Lyme disease test results numbers are more authentic a few weeks after youve been bitten by a carrier-tick. Your body would have developed antibodies within that period, and that can make it easier to detect the disease.

The Most Common Lyme Disease Blood Tests

The two most common diagnostic tests for Lyme disease are the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and the Western blot. These Lyme disease tests allow physicians to visualize the reaction between antibodies in an infected persons blood to specific antigens or parts of the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

In the case of the Western blot, for example, antigens are separated by size and then transferred onto a membrane strip. When an antibody reacts with an antigen on the strip, that band will turn dark purple. For test results to be positive, a specific combination of bands on the membrane strip must be present.

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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 , 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.

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5 Tips to Prevent Tick Bites and Getting Lyme Disease | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Her ordeal is a common one every year, some 300,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Lyme disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that number is on the rise. Some people wait months or years to get a correct Lyme diagnosis. And their cases highlight a problem: Tests for Lyme in the first month of infection are frequently wrong. When diagnosed and treated early the infection is a simple one to get rid of, but left untreated it can cause a myriad of lingering symptoms, from severe arthritis to short-term memory problems.

Now, a number of research groups are working to improve Lyme tests to catch infections in the early stages. One avenue being studied by the CDC aims to create a Lyme signature of small molecules in the blood an approach that, in early testing, catches a dramatically higher share of early infections.

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Lyme Disease Treatment Options

Early detection and treatment of Lyme are crucial. Most Lyme disease infections clear up with the help of a course of antibiotics you can take at home.

In some cases, however, people who are treated with antibiotics may continue to experience symptoms. When this happens, its called chronic Lyme disease or post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. Doctors may treat chronic Lyme disease with a continued course of antibiotics, but the treatment often also involves managing symptoms like pain and inflammation.

If youre experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease and think you may have been bitten by a tick and were in an area where it is common, seek medical care as soon as possible. If certain symptoms and risk factors are present, doctors will typically treat for Lyme disease without waiting for a test result.

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.

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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can vary from person to person after being bitten by a tick.

Lyme disease occurs in stages. The signs and symptoms of each stage can overlap. In some people, Lyme disease may present in a later stage without a history of prior signs or symptoms.

The most commonly reported sign of Lyme disease is an expanding skin rash that typically begins at the site of the tick bite. This rash is called erythema migrans. It slowly grows to more than 5 cm in diameter over several days, and can sometimes:

  • be circular or oval-shaped
  • look like a target or bull’s eye
  • go unnoticed, especially if it’s on:
  • a part of the body that’s difficult to see

Some people may not develop a rash.

Other early signs and symptoms include:

If left untreated, the infection could spread to the joints, heart and nervous system.

Images of erythema migrans rash

Image 1Footnote a: A rash that looks like a bull’s eye at the site of a tick bite.

Image 2Footnote a: An oval-shaped red rash.

Image 3Footnote a: A red rash that has expanded across the width of a limb.

Image 4Footnote a: A red rash and blisters on a forearm.

Image 5Footnote b: A rash on a shoulder.

Image 6Footnote c: A rash on the back of a knee.

Footnote a

Later symptoms of Lyme disease can appear days to months after an infected tick bite, and may include:

  • more rashes
  • migratory pain that spreads in the:
  • thinking and reasoning symptoms, such as:
  • memory loss
  • Other later stage symptoms include:

    Tick Testing Organizationswhere To Get The Tick Tested

    It

    There are many places to get a tick tested. You may go through your health provider or you may choose an independent laboratory. In addition, many state and local health departments offer tick testing. Depending on where testing is done, these tick tests may check for other tick-borne diseases besides Lyme.

    The following is a partial list of independent laboratories that do tick testing. Most offer mail-based service if you are not local. Please contact the Labs directly for more information.

    TickReport

    If you have developed symptoms after being bitten by a tick or spending time outdoors, immediately contact your GP or call NHS 111, mentioning where you have been and if you remember being bitten.

    A very small number of people treated for early Lyme disease can develop more severe symptoms months or years later, however, this is usually if the treatment they receive is delayed or not completed

    If you are exposed to Lyme disease, itâs recommended that you speak to your doctor if symptoms return or donât improve.

    If you have developed symptoms after being bitten by a tick or spending time outdoors, immediately contact your GP or call NHS 111, mentioning where you have been and if you remember being bitten.

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    Is There A Lyme Disease Test Kit

    Blood collection kits are available for at-home Lyme disease testing. Lyme disease test kits can cost as less as $20 and as much as $100 or more. Using a Lyme disease test kit is as simple as pricking your finger and smearing or collecting the blood onto the kit for testing.

    However, testing for Lyme disease in a more controlled environment such as a lab or clinic is preferable as qualified healthcare professionals are likely to perform a more reliable test.

  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention . Data and surveillance. Retrieved from
  • Eugene D. S. . Lyme disease. N Engl J Med 2014 370:1724-1731. Retrieved from
  • Zeller J. L. . Lyme disease. JAMA. 2007 297:2664. Retrieved from
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention . Diagnosis and testing. Retrieved from
  • Waddell L. A., et al. . The accuracy of diagnostic tests for Lyme disease in humans, a systematic review and meta-analysis of North American research. PLoS One. 2016 11: e0168613. Retrieved from

    Other Lyme Disease Tests

    Three other tests that may be used to diagnose Lyme disease are polymerase chain reaction , antigen detection and culture testing. They are called direct tests because they detect the bacteria, not just your immune response to it.

    PCR multiplies a key portion of DNA from the Lyme bacteria so that it can be detected. While PCR is highly accurate when the Lyme DNA is detected, it produces many false negatives. This is because the Lyme bacteria are sparse and may not be in the sample tested.

    Antigen detection tests look for a unique Lyme protein in fluid . Sometimes people whose indirect tests are negative are positive on this test.

    Culture is the gold standard test for identifying bacteria. The lab takes a sample of blood or other fluid from the patient and attempts to grow Lyme spirochetes in a special medium.

    Although culture tests are generally accepted as proof of infection, the CDC has advised caution on the only commercially available culture test developed by Advanced Laboratory Services. LDo recognizes that the test is new and requires further validation in other studies. However, we believe that informed patients should be able to choose the test if they prefer. Choice is particularly important given the low quality of Lyme disease tests generally.

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    How To Remove A Tick

    Removing attached ticks as soon as possible reduces the chance of infection. Infected blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours in order to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

    If you find an attached tick, follow these instructions to remove it:

  • Use clean, fine-point tweezers to grasp the head as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull straight out.
  • Try not to twist or squeeze the tick. Ticks firmly attach their mouthparts into the skin requiring slow but firm traction to remove them.
  • If the mouthparts break off and remain in the skin, remove them with the tweezers. If you’re unable to remove them easily, leave them alone and let the skin heal.
  • Wash the bite area with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Do not try to remove the tick by:

    • burning it
    • petroleum jelly
    • nail polish remover

    This can cause the tick to release its stomach contents, which can be infected, into the bite area. This can increase your chance of infection.

    Visit your health care provider as soon as possible if:

    • you’re not comfortable with removing a tick
    • you can’t remove the tick because it has buried itself deep into your skin
    • you have symptoms of Lyme disease, aren’t feeling well or have concerns after being bitten by a tick

    Your health care provider may ask you:

    • where on your body the tick was attached
    • how long you think the tick was attached to you
    • where you were at the time you were bitten by the tick or may have been exposed to ticks

    Tbrf Can Cause A Negative Result

    Do you know the signs of Lyme disease?

    The disease Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever is caused by a similar but totally separate species of Borrelia to the bacterium that causes Lyme disease and also causes Lyme-like symptoms. However, if a patient with TBRF takes a Lyme disease test, the TBRF will not show up, causing the Lyme test to be negative even though the patient is still sick with an infection.

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    What Happens At Your Appointment

    The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.

    Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and theres not always an obvious rash.

    2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.

    You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.

    What Causes Lyme Disease

    Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that is spread to humans by tick bites. The ticks that carry the spirochete are:

    • Black-legged deer tick

    • Western black-legged tick

    Ticks prefer to live in wooded areas, low-growing grasslands, and yards. Not all ticks carry the Lyme disease bacteria. Depending on the location, anywhere from less than 1% to more than 50% of the ticks are infected with it.

    While most tick bites are harmless, several species can cause life-threatening diseases. Tick-borne diseases include:

    • Rocky Mountain spotted fever

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    Microbiologist Elli Theel, who directs the Infectious Diseases Serology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic, calls the 2015 study incredibly promising. The sensitivity they showed just in early Lyme disease patients was very high, the highest Ive actually seen, she said.

    In an upcoming publication, the researchers also showed that metabolomics can differentiate Lyme from a similar tick-borne disease called southern tick-associated rash illness . The disease causes similar symptoms as Lyme, including a bullseye rash, and occurs in overlapping geographic regions. Currently there is no laboratory test to diagnose STARI, and little is known about how the disease progresses and how to treat it, something Molins hopes will change with better testing.

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