LYME DISEASE TESTING

Lyme disease is a world-wide infectious disease caused by micro­scopic bacteria carried by ticks. Unsuspecting humans and animals walking through woodlands and brushy areas may be bitten by a tick and never know it. The tiny ticks, some the size of poppy seeds, may stay on your body for hours to days. The tick engorges itself with blood. If infected, the spirochete is trans­mitted to the bloodstream of the person or animal during the bite.  A characteristic red bulls-eye rash (EM) at the site of the bite is pres­ent in less than 40% of patients. The rash may appear within days to weeks after the bite, but could be hidden in hairline or underarms.

Some patients report flu-like symptoms, fever, aches, fatigue, neck stiffness, jaw discomfort, muscle pain and stiffness, swollen glands, and red eyes. Symptoms may appear, disappear and reappear at various times. Nervous system abnormalities include memory loss and partial facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy). Migratory joint pains, and pains in the tendons, muscles and bones may occur later in the disease. Arthritic symptoms, if present, usually affect the large joints like the knees.

Several tests are available at our clinic for a diagnosis of Lyme disease. These include direct and indirect tests. Indirect tests look for the patient’s immune response to B. burgdorferi. Direct tests look for the presence of B. burgdorferi antigens or nucleic acids.  This test involves a blood sample that is sent to a lab for accurate analysis and results are sent to the clinic.