How is the diagnosis of Lyme disease made?
Making a definitive diagnosis of Lyme disease can be difficult because the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease is difficult to isolate or culture from body tissues and fluids. Physicians who suspect Lyme disease may order a blood test, called an ELISA test, to look for the presence of antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi in the patient’s blood. Another blood test called Western blot analysis is iused to confirm whether the initial ELISA test is truly positive (so-called 2 tier testing). A new rapid test has been approved called PreVue B. It can be performed in one hour at the doctor’s office, but many physicians, especially those in states with little Lyme disease, may not have the test available. Positive tests need to be confirmed by the above methods, and as many as 20 percent to 30 percent of patients with early Lyme disease may get a negative rapid test result, despite having the disease. Antibody levels may be too low to detect the disease in a patient’s blood during the fir