Understanding Lyme Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention (Updated)

We can also talk about post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, which is a problem that patients experience after being treated. It features fatigue, chronic pain, and neurocognitive impairment.

Lyme Disease Testing

Diagnosis

Diagnosing Lyme disease can be difficult, as no single definitive test can accurately identify the presence of the disease. Instead, a combination of laboratory tests and clinical criteria are used to diagnose the condition.

The first step in diagnosing Lyme disease is to perform a physical exam and review the patient’s medical history. A physician will look for signs of infection during the physical exam, such as a rash, fever, chills, fatigue, and joint pain. The bull’s eye rash is characteristic of this ailment and can provide a very high degree of suspicion. However, it is often not found or missed by patients depending on the tick bite area.

After the physical exam, a blood test can be used to help diagnose Lyme disease. There are two types of blood tests used to diagnose Lyme disease: the ELISA test and the Western Blot test.

  • The ELISA test is a screening test that looks for antibodies produced by the body in response to the presence of Lyme disease.
  • The Western Blot test is a confirmatory test that looks for specific proteins called antigens produced by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium.

Written by Martin Davis