How Do You Find Out If You Have Lyme Disease
Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease
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, separate IgG and IgM ViraChipÂ® 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 protein and immunoglobulin levels compared between the two sample types to produce a meaningful result.
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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.
Itâs not clear why this happens to some people and not others. This means thereâs 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 familiesâ social care
Page last reviewed: 05 July 2021 Next review due: 05 July 2024
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What Do Testing Kits Typically Include
Depending on the method of collection, testing kits may include:
- a device to collect the blood, urine, or saliva sample
- a container to ship the sample back to the lab
- a shipping label
Some kits come with a bandage, wipes, and a biohazard bag. Kits may contain extras such as Styrofoam holders, labels, or tubes with varying solutions inside.
The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease
Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
But it’s 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. They’re 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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What Are The 3 Stages Of Lyme Disease
Although Lyme disease is commonly divided into three stages early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated symptoms can overlap. Some people will also present in a later stage of disease without having symptoms of earlier disease.
The Role Of Lyme Disease Tests
The purpose of the most common type of Lyme disease testing is to determine whether you have developed antibodies as a result of past exposure to the Borrelia bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Antibodies are proteins created by the immune system that target specific threats like bacteria and viruses.
Blood testing alone cannot determine whether you have Lyme disease. Instead, testing can provide helpful information that your doctor can consider along with other factors, such as any symptoms youve had and whether youve been exposed to ticks that can carry Borrelia, to determine if a diagnosis of Lyme disease is appropriate.
Beyond blood testing, it is possible to analyze fluid from the central nervous system for signs of the Borrelia bacteria.
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How To Remove A Tick
Removing a tick is the same for humans and animals. Its important you do not crush or damage the tick because it could cause Lyme bacteria to pass from the tick into your bloodstream.
How to remove a tick.
How Will Pregnancy Affect Treatment For Lyme Disease
Early treatment of Lyme disease during pregnancy is important. Thats because if Lyme disease is left 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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What Happens During Lyme Disease Testing
Lyme disease testing is usually done with your blood or cerebrospinal fluid.
For a Lyme disease blood test:
- A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
If you have symptoms of Lyme disease affecting your nervous system, such as neck stiffness and numbness in hands or feet, you may need a test of cerebrospinal fluid . CSF is a clear liquid found in your brain and spinal cord. During this test, your CSF will be collected through a procedure called a lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap. During the procedure:
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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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Igenex Lyme Disease Test
People who wish to buy a test kit from IGeneX have to pay a $20 deposit fee. They need to complete the paperwork with their doctor to determine which tests they should use.
Afterward, an individual can collect their sample at home and mail it to IGeneX. The company then sends the results to the doctor.
The tests cost $295546.
People who use IGeneX may benefit from some of its advantages:
- The testing centers are CLIA-certified.
- Doctors help the clients choose a test kit.
- There are several collection methods available.
However, there are some disadvantages to this service. Firstly, it is not a true home test, as people have to work with a doctor to complete the paperwork and receive their results. Additionally, the paperwork and billing system can be complex.
CDC , people should perform two tests for Lyme disease, and they can use the same blood sample.
If they receive a negative result, they do not need to perform another test. However, if their first test is positive or indeterminate, it is best to test again.
The CDC states the overall result is only positive for Lyme disease when the first and second tests produce a positive result.
Tests detect IgM and IgG antibodies that the body produces in response to an infection. The IgM antibodies appear early in response to the exposure, while the IgG antibodies appear 46 weeks after the infection and can persist for years.
False positives can occur if a person has other conditions, including
Laboratory Testing In Vaccinated Individuals
In 1998 the Food and Drug Administration approved a recombinant OspA vaccine for use in patients at risk of acquiring LD . Since the efficacy of the vaccine is reported to be in the range of 76% after three doses, there will be instances where vaccinated individuals acquire natural infection with B. burgdorferi sensu lato. ELISAs and IFA assays utilizing OspA-producing strains of B. burgdorferi sensu lato will not discriminate between vaccinated and naturally infected individuals. Therefore, the CDC two-step algorithm is not applicable to vaccinated patients and immunoblotting must be relied on for serologic confirmation of infection. In addition to increasing costs, the issue is complicated further by reports that some vaccinated patients produce antibodies that bind to various borrelial proteins, making interpretation of immunoblots more difficult . This will continue to be problematic until ELISAs and other first-line assays based on non-OspA-producing strains or recombinant borrelial proteins are in widespread use and physicians become aware of the specific limitations of the testing methods provided by their laboratories .
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When Not To Take This Lyme Disease Test
Do not take this Lyme disease antibody test if:
- You are experiencing a round rash after a tick bite, such as the typical bullseye rash associated with early Lyme disease. Seek immediate medical attention instead of taking this test. A round rash could be a sign of Lyme disease, and itâs best to consult a medical professional and receive treatment as soon as possible to help prevent complications associated with the disease.
- You suspect you might have been infected with Lyme disease bacteria less than 6 weeks ago . The antibodies detected by this test take several weeks to build up in your bloodstream, taking the test before 6 weeks have passed may result in a false negative.
- You havenÃ¢t lived in or traveled to an area where Lyme disease occurs. Consider discussing any symptoms with your healthcare providerÃ¢instead of taking this testÃ¢to help determine if youÃ¢ve been exposed to a Lyme disease bacterium.
- YouÃ¢ve previously received a Lyme disease diagnosis, was treated for the disease, and are still symptomatic. Consider discussing any new or ongoing symptoms with your healthcare provider instead of taking this test.
- You are currently being treated for Lyme disease infection or taking antibiotic treatment for other infections. Consider discussing any symptoms with your healthcare provider instead of taking this test.
Because interpreting Lyme disease test results can be difficult, weÃ¢ve designed your test results to be easy to read and understand.
Lyme Disease Signs And Symptoms
Most symptoms of Lyme disease in humans usually appear between three and 30 days after a bite from an infected blacklegged tick.
You should contact your local public health unit or speak to a health care professional right away if you have been somewhere that ticks might live and experience any of the following symptoms:
- a bulls-eye rash (a red patch on the skin that is usually round or oval and more than 5 cm that spreads outwards and is getting bigger
- a bruise-like rash
- another type of unusual rash
- muscle aches and joint pains
- spasms, numbness or tingling
- facial paralysis
If not treated, Lyme disease can make you feel tired and weak and, if it gets really bad, it can even harm your heart, nerves, liver and joints. Symptoms from untreated Lyme disease can last years and include recurring arthritis and neurological problems, numbness, paralysis and, in very rare cases, death.
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Submit A Tick Photo For Identification
You can submit photographs of ticks for rapid photo identification through the eTick website or using the eTick app.
- Download the eTick app on or the Apple Store
How to submit a tick photo to eTick:
- Take a photograph of the tick using your smart phone or digital camera. Instructions on how to take a good photo for species identification are provided in the eTick photographic guide.
- If you are not using the eTick app, submit your photo on the eTick website.
- After submitting your photo, keep your tick specimen for at least 5 days in case additional photos are needed to complete the identification.
- Save the tick in a clean, empty and secure container. Do not add any ventilation holes to the container. Ticks can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Submitted photographs will be used to identify the tick species and you will get the results typically within 24 hours. Once you receive your results, the tick can be discarded, or if requested, submitted to the laboratory.
- If the tick is identified as a type that can transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, or cannot be identified by photo, you will be asked to submit the tick for additional testing to the Alberta Public Health Laboratory.
When You May Need To See A Specialist
Though a family physician or general practitioner should be able to order the diagnostic tests for Lyme disease, there are some situations in which you may need to see a specialist. For example, untreated or misdiagnosed Lyme can develop into chronic Lyme disease, which can then lead to complications such as arthritic or neurological symptoms. In these cases, patients may need to see the following types of specialists:
- Rheumatologist Chronic joint problems from Lyme disease may need the care of a physician who specializes in rheumatology.
- Neurologist Chronic Lyme can be associated with debilitating neurological symptoms that must be treated by a specialist.
- Infectious disease specialist Again, even though this isnt always necessary, it can be helpful if your symptoms dont go away or become more complex.
- Cardiologist In the event that you develop the rare but dangerous complication known as Lyme carditis, you may need to see a cardiologist and even be fitted with a temporary pacemaker.
However, its important to remember that seeing a specialist for symptoms related to Lyme disease without treating Lyme disease is costly and dangerous. In other words, a rheumatologist or neurologist will not be able to treat your Lyme if no diagnosis has been made. They can simply help treat symptoms that result from chronic or untreated Lyme.
To treat Lyme disease, you must get an accurate diagnosis and be prescribed antibiotics.
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Submission And Collection Notes
If European Lyme disease testing is required: enter ‘European Lyme disease’ under Test Description of the and provide travel history including location of travel and dates.
European Lyme is referred to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.
Indicate the following on the :
- date of onset
Laboratory Tests That Are Not Recommended
Some laboratories offer Lyme disease testing using assays whose accuracy and clinical usefulness have not been adequately established. Examples of unvalidated tests include:
- Capture assays for antigens in urine
- Culture, immunofluorescence staining, or cell sorting of cell wall-deficient or cystic forms of B. burgdorferi
- Lymphocyte transformation tests
- In-house criteria for interpretation of immunoblots
- Measurements of antibodies in joint fluid
- IgM or IgG tests without a previous ELISA/EIA/IFA
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Laboratory Testing Of Ticks For Surveillance
Only ticks that have been requested to be submitted to the lab following photo identification through eTick will be accepted for testing at the lab. This ensures the best use of laboratory services. Most ticks found in Alberta are not the type that can transmit Lyme disease.
Note that Alberta Health Services Environmental Public Health and Indigenous Services Canada First Nations and Inuit Health Branch offices are not accepting tick submissions.
If you are asked to submit your tick to the Alberta Public Health Laboratory through eTick, complete and print the Tick Testing Request form that must accompany your tick to the lab . Submitting a tick to the lab when requested is optional. By submitting the tick when requested, you are helping Alberta Health to monitor for ticks of public health concern in Alberta.
Members of the public can drop off their completed Tick Testing Request form and tick specimen at a local lab location, or send it by mail.
Collection, shipping instructions, drop off locations and mailing address are provided on the Tick Testing Request form as well as below:
Where Can I Get A Tick Tested For Lyme Disease
Where can i get a tick tested for lyme diseasePeople can have an impaired immune system from an overactive and underactive immune response. A strong immune system responds appropriately to the challenge a weak immune.
Diagnosing and treating a tick-borne disease can be highly complex. Having a doctor who is trained and experienced in caring for patients with these illnesses can help ensure that you achieve the best possible health outcome. Luckily, there is a growing number of Lyme disease experts who can provide diagnostic testing and proper treatment for Lyme and other tick-borne.
People who have removed a tick sometimes wonder if they should have it tested for evidence of infection. Although some commercial groups offer testing, in general this is not recommended because: Laboratories that conduct tick testing are not required to have the high standards of quality control used by clinical diagnostic laboratories.
If no clinical signs of Lyme disease are observed, different approaches can be tried: A different antibiotic can be used, treatment time can be extended, or the animal is not treated again but its antibody status is monitored every 6-12 months .
Lyme disease cant be transmitted from one pet to another, nor from pets to humans, except through tick bites. However, a carrier tick could come into your house on your dogs fur and get on you.
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