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Lyme Disease Blood Test, Western Blot

The Lyme disease blood test, western blot is used to detect antibodies specific for B burgdorferi.

Sample Report

Test Code: 163600

Also Known As: Borrelia burgdorferi Antibodies; Lyme Disease Antibodies (IgG, IgM), Immunoblot

Methodology: Western blot

Preparation: No special preparation required.

Test Results: 7-10 days. May take longer based on weather, holiday or lab delays.

Description

What are Lyme Disease symptoms?

The list of possible symptoms is long, and symptoms can affect every part of the body. The following are the most common symptoms of Lyme disease. But symptoms are slightly different for each person.

The primary symptom of Lyme disease is a red rash that:

  • Can appear several days after infection, or not at all
  • Can last up to several weeks
  • Can be very small or grow very large (up to 12 inches across) and may resemble a "bulls-eye"
  • Can mimic such skin problems as hives, eczema, sunburn, poison ivy, and flea bites
  • Can itch or feel hot, or may not be felt at all
  • Can disappear and return several weeks later

Several days or weeks after a bite from an infected tick, you may have flu-like symptoms such as the following:

  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Aches and pains in muscles and joints
  • Low-grade fever and chills
  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Swollen glands

Weeks to months after the bite, the following symptoms may develop:

  • Neurological symptoms, including inflammation of the nervous system (meningitis) and weakness and paralysis of the facial muscles (Bell palsy)
  • Heart problems, including inflammation of the heart (myopericarditis) and problems with heart rate 
  • Eye problems, including inflammation (for example, red-eye)

Months to a few years after a bite, the following symptoms may include:

  • Inflammation of the joints (arthritis)
  • Neurological symptoms including numbness in the extremities, tingling and pain, and difficulties with speech, memory, and concentration

Some people may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome (PLDS). A condition also known as chronic Lyme disease includes PLDS, but also other syndromes. Usually, these are characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.

Antibiotics can cure most cases of Lyme disease. The sooner treatment begins, the quicker and more complete the recovery.

After treatment, some patients may still have muscle or joint aches and nervous system symptoms. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). Long-term antibiotics have not been shown to help with PTLDS. However, there are ways to help with the symptoms of PTLDS, and most patients do get better with time.

The CDC does not recommend the Western Blot test as a front-line screening as some conditions other than Lyme disease may cause a false positive. 

 

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