Lyme Disease Diagnosis and Testing

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.

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