What Is Lyme Disease
This bacterial infection is spread through the bite of a young deer tick or black-legged tick. These eight-legged creatures, about the size of a poppy seed, can be found in wooded and grassy areas throughout the United States, especially in New England and the Rocky Mountains.
Because these ticks are so small, most people donât realize when theyâre bitten. But the longer a tick stays attached to you, the more likely it is to transmit Borrelia burgdorferi , if the tick is a carrier.
So When Do You Need Blood Tests For Lyme Disease
In some cases, you can have Lyme disease without the rash. Or you may not see the rash before it goes away on its own.
In these cases, your doctor should ask you about your medical history and do a thorough physical exam. Your doctor should look for these signs that you might have Lyme disease:
- You were in an area with ticks and Lyme disease.
- You also have fever or redness, warmth, and swelling in one or a few joints at a time usually the knees, shoulders, or wrists.
Other symptoms can occur later on. Talk to your doctor about testing and treatment choices.
This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.
Most Accurate: Dna Connexions
Test looks for Borrelia burgdorferi, in addition to 10 other common vector-borne pathogens
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.
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Can I Be Assured That The Type Of Lyme Disease Testing Carried Out In Ireland Is Accurate
Yes. Irish laboratories operate to a very high standard of quality. Laboratories in Ireland follow the testing guidelines of the US Centres for Disease Control and prevention , Infectious Disease Society of America , European Federation of Neurological Societies and British Infection Association . These guidelines provide information on which of the currently available laboratory tests have enough evidence to accurately diagnose Lyme disease.
It is important that patients who are concerned about Lyme disease seek help and receive a firm diagnosis in Ireland to ensure continued medical care. It is important to ensure that your symptoms and lab results are considered together to make sure your diagnosis is as correct as possible.
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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How Is It Diagnosed
If youâve been outside in an area where ticks are known to live, you should tell your doctor. Theyâll also want to know about the symptoms youâre having. These details are crucial to making a diagnosis of Lyme disease.
Early symptoms that usually occur within the first month after a tick bite can include:
- Rash at the site of the tick bite that may look like a âbullâs-eyeâ
- Racing heart
- Problems with your short-term memory
Symptoms that come and go are common with Lyme disease. They will also depend on the stage of the disease.
Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
If your Lyme infection progresses past the first stage, youâll encounter the symptoms of early disseminated Lyme diseaseâthe second phase.
Second-phase infections typically feature the symptoms observed in the first stage, though they could be more severe.
But, patients should remain vigilant for other potential symptoms at this stage, including:
- Increased pain
- Higher fever
- Organ impacts in one or more of the following systems: neurological organs, eyes, musculoskeletal systems
While theyâre both considered early phases of the disease, stages one and two can have distinctly different severity levels. Patients with an early localized infection may still be able to operate as normal while they treat the disease, while an early disseminated infection can cause significant discomfort.
The second stage of the infection can last between three and ten weeks.
All Lyme infections stem from the same risk factorsâparticularly tick bites.
But, there are two risk factors that lead to second-and third-stage Lyme disease:
- Lack of antibiotic intervention
- Insufficient antibiotic intervention
If you receive a positive diagnosis for Lyme disease, but you donât undergo antibiotic treatment, the infection is likely to persist and develop into a further-stage illness.
But, if you take your antibiotic course for a first-phase infection as instructed, your disease could still persist if:
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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 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 very important to read the kits detailed information before getting started.
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
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Diagnosis Testing And Treatment
You may have heard that the blood test for Lyme disease is correctly positive only 65% of the time or less. This is misleading information. As with serologic tests for other infectious diseases, the accuracy of the test depends upon how long youve been infected. During the first few weeks of infection, such as when a patient has an erythema migrans rash, the test is expected to be negative.
Several weeks after infection, FDA cleared tests have very good sensitivity.
It is possible for someone who was infected with Lyme disease to test negative because:
If you are pregnant and suspect you have contracted Lyme disease, contact your physician immediately.
- Report being bitten by a tick, or
- Live in, or have recently visited, a tick-infested area.
Tick Removal And Testing
A tool to assist people in removing attached ticks and seeking health care, if appropriate, after a tick bite.
If you find a tick attached to your skin, simply remove the tick as soon as possible. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers works very well.
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Some Advice On Treatments
Lyme disease can be treated with a two-week to four-week course of antibiotics.
However, some people will experience symptoms such as fatigue, pain, or cognitive difficulties for more than 6 months after treatment. This is known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.
Evidence for the use of antibiotics for chronic, persistent symptoms following the initial infection is inconclusive and Khan cautions against this approach to treating long-term issues.
While many non-specific chronic symptoms are attributed to Lyme disease due to likely false-positive serologic testing, there is no evidence that long-term treatment with antibiotics has any impact on these chronic symptoms, so be wary of any doctor offering cash-only long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease, Kahn said.
I see many patients that have paid unscrupulous doctors in cash for these dubious Lyme disease treatments, and in most cases, their symptoms are due to something other than Lyme disease, he warned.
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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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How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
The traditional blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease have been replaced by two new tests called the C6 test and Quantitative C6 test .
The C6 test is a preliminary blood test that detects antibodies against a very specific protein called C6. This protein is unique to the Borrelia bacteria, and the presence of antibodies to C6 suggests exposure to Borrelia and infection. The C6 antibodies can be detected as soon as four weeks after a dog is bitten by an infected tick, and may be found in the blood stream even before the dog shows signs of illness. The C6 test is often offered as part of a special test kit that looks for other tick-borne diseases. The test can be done by your veterinarian in-clinic or the blood sample can be sent to an outside laboratory for testing.
Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions
If you have not done so already, remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers.
The chances that you might get Lyme disease from a single tick bite depend on the type of tick, where you acquired it, and how long it was attached to you. Many types of ticks bite people in the U.S., but only blacklegged ticks transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Furthermore, only blacklegged ticks in the highly endemic areas of the northeastern and north central U.S. are commonly infected. Finally, blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease. This is why its so important to remove them promptly and to check your body daily for ticks if you live in an endemic area.
If you develop illness within a few weeks of a tick bite, see your health care provider right away. Common symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash, fever, body aches, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Ticks can also transmit other diseases, so its important to be alert for any illness that follows a tick bite.
Moody KD, Barthold SW, 1991. Relative infectivity of Borrelia burgdorferi in Lewis rats by various routes of inoculation.Am J Trop Med Hyg 44: 135-9.
There are no reports of Lyme disease being spread to infants through breast milk. If you are diagnosed with Lyme disease and are also breastfeeding, make sure that your doctor knows this so that he or she can prescribe an antibiotic thats safe for use when breastfeeding.
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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.
How Can I Tell If Treatment Is Working
If joint lameness is the presenting sign, improvement may be noted after 3-5 days starting antibiotics. A dog’s response to therapy can be assessed by repeating the QC6 test six months after treatment is complete. Dogs that start with a moderate to high QC6 value typically show a 50% reduction or more in the QC6 at six months, indicating that treatment has been successful. Dogs that have a lower initial QC6 value may not show such dramatic reductions in the QC6 at six months, although the value should still be lower than the starting point if treatment has been successful.
A persistently high QC6 suggests treatment may not have been complete or that the dog became reinfected after treatment was stopped.
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Get Started Withigenex Today
The first step in getting tested with IGeneX is to order a test collection kit. Choose between a Blood, Urine, or Miscellaneous kit, depending on the test you will be doing. The Blood Kit is the most common, and works with 95% of tests. Doctors can order unlimited quantities of kits at no charge. Patients are required to deposit $20, which is applied to the testing fees.
How To Avoid Tick Bites
To reduce the chance of being bitten:
- cover your skin while walking outdoors and tuck your trousers into your socks
- use insect repellent on your clothes and skin products containing DEET are best
- stay on clear paths whenever possible
- wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to see and brush off
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Submitting Ticks To A Provincial Public Health Laboratory
If possible, send any ticks that you have removed to a public health laboratory in your area. However, tick identification and testing is not done in all provinces of Canada.The following provinces accept submissions:
Contact your local public health authority for details on:
- the tick identification and testing program available in your area
- how to submit a tick for testing
The public health laboratory will:
- identify the tick
Experimental Lyme Disease Vaccine Being Tested In Hot Spots Pennsylvania New Jersey
PHILADELPHIA — An experimental new Lyme disease vaccine is gaining a lot of interest and is being tested in our area, where the disease is skyrocketing. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are Lyme disease hot spots with some of the highest numbers in the country.
Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 476,000 people get Lyme disease each year in the U.S.
Robert Terwilliger was eager to volunteer to test a new Lyme disease vaccine.
“I’m hoping it works this way, I won’t have no worries,” he said. “You know, I go out in the woods and enjoy myself. And if I find a tick on me, OK, I’m good. I don’t have to worry about anything.”
Pfizer and Valneva SE, a French biotech company, developed the experimental vaccine known as VLA15, which targets the bacteria from a tick bite that causes Lyme disease.
“It’s a vaccine that’s designed to prevent Lyme disease caused by the six most common types of Lyme bacteria in both the U.S. and Europe,” Pfizer vaccine chief Annalisa Anderson said.
Lyme disease cases have exploded recently with some blaming global warming which helps ticks thrive.
Most cases are on the East Coast from Virginia to Maine. Some of the highest numbers are in the Delaware Valley.
Pennsylvania has 6,763 Lyme disease cases, New Jersey has 2,400 and Delaware has just over 600.
“It’s always a worry,” Terwilliger said.
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