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Testing

A test may support the diagnosis of LD, but cannot be used solely to make the diagnostic decision. No

test can definitively "rule-out" Lyme disease.

Antibody Tests

Antibodies are the immune system's response to fight off infection. Tests strive to be both sensitive

(detecting any LD-antibody reaction) and specific (detecting just LD antibodies.)

Types of Tests

 Titer (ELISA or IFA) tests measure the level of Bb antibodies in body fluid. Laboratories use different

detection criteria, cut-off points, types of measurements, and reagents. 

Western blot produces bands indicating the immune system's reactivity to Bb. Labratories differ

in their interpretation and reporting of these bands.

Direct Detection Tests

 Antigen detection tests look for a unique Bb protein in fluid (e.g. urine) of patients. This may be useful

for detecting LD in patients taking antibiotics or during a patient's symptom flare-up.

 Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests multiplies

the number of Bb DNA to a detectable level. It is expensive and requires expertise. Culturing is difficult and can take weeks. Staining is time consuming and has a low yield.

Types of Results

False Negative tests occur due to: defects in test sensitivity; too low an antibody level to detect (e.g.

they are bound to the bacteria, with too few freefloating; the patient taking antibiotics or other drugs;

naturally low antibody production); the bacterium has changed, limiting recognition by the immune system;

the bacterium has masked itself in some way; or bacterial strain variations.

False Positive tests occur due to: test failure, crossreacting antibodies (e.g. syphilis, periodontal disease).

The following testing should also be done to rule in or out other disorders and prevent a false negative or positive result:

CBC
ESR (sed rate)
glucose urea nitrogen
creatinine
sodium
potassium
chloride
calcium
alkaline phos
protein total
albumin
bilirubin total
AST (sgot)
ALT (sgpt)
carbon dioxide
GFR estimation
rhematoid fact
babesia IGG (co infection)
babesia IGM (co infection)
bartonella HEN.  IGG (co infection)
bartonella HEN.  IGM (co infection)
bartonella QUIN. IGG (co infection)
bartonella QUIN. IGM (co infection)
ehrlichiosis A. Phagocyt IgG (co infection)
ehrlichiosis A. Phagocyt IgM (co infection)
ehrlichiosis E. Chaff IGG (co infection)
ehrlichiosis E. Chaff IGM (co infection)
TSH
Thyroglobulin (Tg)
ANTI TPO
T3
T4
RPR (syphilis)
ANA
Labs should be sent to a Lab familiar with testing for Lyme Disease. If there is any questions, contact the lab ahead and confirm that they are familiar with the tests ordered. A Lyme Literate Physician will be aware of a proper lab to send to.