Lyme disease is transmitted by a tick vector carrying Borrelia burgdorferi. Immunoblot testing qualitatively examines, with high specificity, antibodies in a patient's specimen. Immunoblot testing is appropriate for confirming a detected EIA or IFA test result.
This test screens for Lyme disease, a bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected tick that carries the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. A characteristic “bulls-eye” rash greater than the size of a quarter appears in only 70% of people that are infected with Lyme disease.
Lyme season typically begins in April and goes through November, although ticks carrying Lyme disease may be present year-round. Lyme is regularly found, and more prevalent in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, and Northern California.
Campers, hikers, and people who work in gardens and other leafy outdoor venues are at the greatest risk for tick bites. If you live in or have traveled to a state that Lyme disease is endemic your risk may be greater In most cases, for Lyme disease to be transmitted the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours.
This test may be appropriate for you if:
- You have been in an endemic area (listed above)
- Been in outdoor areas where ticks live (e.g. woods)
- Are experiencing symptoms (e.g., rash, Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes.
This test is NOT appropriate if:
- Tick bite within 2-3 weeks (too soon to test)
- There are no symptoms present
How do the test work:
The blood test screens for immunoglobulin M (IgM) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies, which are produced by the immune system to fight infection to the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. Seek medical attention if you are having heart or neurologic symptoms, especially if you have had a tick bite, live in an area known for Lyme disease, or have recently traveled to an area where Lyme disease occurs.
- Early signs & symptoms (3-30 days after tick bite)
- Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes
- Erythema migraines (EM) rash or bulls-eye rash– 70% of cases
- Later Signs and Symptoms (days to months after tick bite)
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
- Problems with short-term memory
- Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat
- Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints
- Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
Note: If you are experiencing heart or neurologic symptoms, please seek medical attention