Diagnosis of Lyme
Diagnosis can be challenging because…
- The early stage symptoms resemble the flu.
- The late stage resembles many other diseases.
- Many people never saw the tick and didn’t know they had a tick bite.
- Many people with Lyme disease have negative test results.
- Many doctors are unaware of the Lyme disease epidemic here and don’t consider the diagnosis.
- Many doctors are unaware that a person with a negative test can still have Lyme disease.
Tips for Testing
- Blood must be fresh for the most accurate results.
- When blood is being sent out-of-state, it should be drawn Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, and sent overnight by Federal Express.
- The CDC says Lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis, but testing can be used to confirm a diagnosis.
- The CDC doesn’t recommend testing in the early stage, because treatment needs to begin immediately, and it can take 4-6 weeks for antibodies to develop.
- The CDC recommends the ELISA, followed by a Western blot if the ELISA is positive.
- These are antibody tests. Lyme disease suppresses the immune system, so many patients never test positive.
- Studies reveal that the ELISA is only 45% accurate.
- Most Lyme disease specialists don’t use the ELISA. It’s no better than flipping a coin.
- Igenex Laboratories in California has the best Western blot test for Lyme, but even it can miss some cases.
- Another good test is the CD-57 test. It can detect Lyme disease and monitor treatment progress.