Lyme disease test is a blood test which is conducted by pathologists to detect the bacterial called Borrelia Burgdorferi. This bacterium is carried by black legged ticks that pickup the bacteria when they bite a deer or mice that are infected with Lyme disease. When an infested tick bites you, you can get this disease. This disease get its name from the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut in the US where this it was first reported in the year 1975.This disease since that year has spread in quite a few states in the US. It can be caused by a tick that carried these bacteria.
In the US Lyme disease infections occur particularly in Northern California on the West Coast. It also occurs in Minnesota and Wisconsin in the North central state and from Virginia to main North Eastern state. This disease has three stages. The 1st stage is when the infection is not yet wide spread throughout the body and is called early localized Lyme disease. When the bacterium has begun to spread throughout the body, it is the 2nd stage and is called early disseminated Lyme disease. When the bacterium has spread throughout the body, it is the 3rd stage and is called disseminated Lyme disease.
If you are in the area where Lyme disease is known to occur, you will be exposing yourself to a risk of contacting this disease. If you indulge in outside activities such as hiking, hunting, and gardening that increase tick exposure the risk is greater. The same applies if you have a pet that carries tick on its body. To spread the bacteria to your blood, the tick carrying the bacteria must be attached to your body for 24 to 36 hours.
Lyme disease Test If Bitten By Black Legged Ticks
There are many people who are infected with Lyme disease but have never seen a tick on their body. These black legged ticks can be so small that you may not be able to see them with the naked eye. When you are bitten by a tick that carries this bacteria, you should immediately get your blood tested for Borrelia burgdorferi anti bodies in your blood. If there are signs and symptom of central nervous system disease, then the fluid in the spine, the cerebrospinal fluid is tested.
Lyme disease test is conducted to determine the presence of the anti bodies. The anti bodies are produced by the body’s immune system in response to exposure to the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Black legged ticks or deer ticks that are infected transfer the infection into the blood when they bite a person. During the spring and summer season the animals are infected with ticks. This is especially true for the western and the northeastern USA. Be careful when you handle your pets especially at this time of the year. Keep them clean and healthy all the time as ticks thrive on animal bodies.
The first sign of symptoms of Lyme disease infection may be a rash around the site of the tick bite, tiredness, headache and fewer. If no diagnoses of Lyme is done and treated at this stage the disease may progress. It causes continuous joint pain, weakness and numbness in arms, facial, paralysis, meningitis, memory problems. In some rare cases it may affect the eyes or the heart. The B.burgdorferi immunoglobulinM antibodies can be detectable in the blood after 2 to 3 weeks of exposure.
The IgM levels increases to a maximum concentration at about 6 weeks and then begins to decline. The immunoglobulinG anti bodies can be detected several weeks after exposure. It takes 4 to 6 months for the concentration to increase to a maximum level and can remain at high levels for several years. 2 tests have been recommended by the centers for disease control and prevention to confirm Lyme disease. The tests are IFA or ELISA. These methods are used to measure the B.burgdorferi IgM and or IgG antibodies. These tests are also used to test bacterium that causes syphilis. The CDC recommends that the positive results of any such test should be followed by a 2nd test, the Western Blot to confirm the presence.
The blood sample is taken from a vein in the arm by a needle. If there is a sign of Meningitis, then the doctor will take a sample of cerebrospinal fluid. It will be taken by using a procedure called a lumbar puncture. These blood test or lumber puncture procedures are not so painful. The doctors are professional and the testing is done in such a manner that the patient does not feel any pain. Sometimes doctors advice blood test and throat culture.
If a person shows characteristic symptoms of having been recently infected by Borrelia burgdorferi he may order both IgM and IgG and antibody blood test. If the test shows a negative result but the symptom persists, then the test will be repeated after a few weeks. To track the progression of the disease, acute and convalescent samples may be used to look for changes in the amount of anti body present. If the tests are positive then to confirm the findings a Western blocked test is performed.
Lyme disease Test – Confirmed With a Western Blot Test
Lyme disease test may not show positive result when the first symptom appears. This disease is a real challenge to diagnose. If a person is living in the area where Lyme disease is prevalent, then the timing of the potential infection can be closely estimated. The same can be said if he has removed a tick from his skin, or knows that he was bitten by a tick. It is quite difficult to notice the tick itself as the tick is very tiny.
If the characteristic of the rash and the symptom are not so specific you may feel that you are suffering from flu in the early stages. You may develop joint pains and at times it may lead to chronic arthritis. At times some neurological symptoms will appear a few months later. To diagnose Lyme disease a blood test for anti bodies for the bacterium is preferred. But if some central nervous system appears such as meningitis, then IgG, IgM, and Western Blot test may be performed on CSF.
Sometimes polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are performed on a sample to detect an infection with B.burgdorferi. PCR is a more sensitive way of detecting the same. In this method by collecting fluid from a joint the infection is detected. It looks for the DNA of B.burgdorferi in the synovial fluid. PCR is not effective when the samples of cerebrospinal fluid are taken. It is in certain rare case a skin biopsy may be cultured to grow the bacterium. There are many symptoms which indicate the presence of this infection. Diagnose for Lyme disease is ordered by a doctor when a person shows systems that suggest that he is infected with B.burgdorferi.
Since the symptoms of Lyme disease are common it may at times mislead. Unless you are confirmed that the person has been bitten by a tick that has been infected by the bacteria you need not go in for this test. But the risk involved here is that the tick is so small and you never know if it bit you. If a person living in the area where the disease is prevalent shows certain symptoms he must be watched carefully. If the person shows symptoms of rash that spreads from the site of the bite he should be tested for the disease. He will develop fever and chills with headache similar to the symptoms of a flu and shows signs of acute tiredness.
If the disease is left unattended then at a later stage he will suffer with acute and continuous joint pain, he may also be affected by meningitis. At some state facial paralysis may also occur and finally numbness and weakness in the arms and legs will develop. He may even start losing his memory. When such symptoms are noticed, the doctors will advice blood test such as IgG and IgM. If these tests are not able to confirm, repeated test will be ordered to check for changes in antibody levels.
Lyme disease Test – Know the Two Types
Diagnosis for Lyme disease is conducted with an IgM anti body and IgG test. If someone tests positive for IgM then a Western Blot test is also done to confirm the positive result. If both are positive then it is likely that he has an active capital B.burgdorferi infection.
There are times when an IgM result cannot detect the infection. But the IgG and Western Blot will test positive. This shows that the person tested is suffering from a later stage of infection or he had an infection in the past at sometime. When the entire test is proved negative, even though he shows symptoms then it is assumed that he is suffering from other infection. Or the anti body levels are so low that they cannot be detected. PCR results can also detect the infection of B.burgdorferi. If this DNA shows positive then the infection is present.
If a person has detectable amount of IgB anti bodies of B.burgdorferi in his blood it can be there for the rest of his life. This type of bacterium comes from the class of bacterium called Spirochetes, which also cause diseases such as Syphilis and leptospirosis. Thus if the test shows a positive result it does not mean that you have been affected by Lyme. You may be suffering from any of the autoimmune disorder. For this reason the Western Blot test is conducted.
When you are being tested for Lyme disease, let your doctors know if you are being treated with anti biotic. They can interfere with the test results. You should get tested for Lyme disease to confirm whether you have been exposed to the bacterium. A blood sample is drawn from your vein for the test. Do not be complacent when you see the common symptoms. If living in the area where this infection is present, go to the doctor and rule out the presence of the disease with a Lyme disease test immediately.