Lyme Disease Testing

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What kind of tests are available to determine if I have Lyme disease?

Lyme Disease Testing

With incidents of Lyme disease on the rise, it's critical to know how to recognize the symptoms and what to do when you spot them. Most commonly transmitted by the deer tick, Lyme disease often causes a trademark bull's eye rash, called erythema migrans. Though Lyme disease testing can be helpful in the diagnosis, it is not always necessary. If the patient is not showing any symptoms of Lyme disease, testing is not recommended.

Both tests for Lyme disease are blood tests and can be done using the same blood sample.

ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunoassay) or IFA (Immunofluorescence) tests- These tests are highly sensitive and look for antibodies to the disease. Thus, most people who have Lyme disease will test positive. The sensitive nature of this test does result in some false positives, meaning people who don't have Lyme disease test positive for it, but further testing can correct the result.

Western Blot Test-The Center for Disease Control advises running a Western blot test only after ELISA or IFA tests. The Western blot also searches for specific antibodies to Lyme disease. If these are found, the person is truly infected.

   

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