Lyme Disease Test – False Positive Results May Delay Diagnosis
When you suspect you might have Lyme disease, you may want to get a blood test to determine whether you have the disease. Unfortunately, this blood test may be falsely positive, especially during the early stages of the infection. This can delay the correct diagnosis. Unless you are experiencing classic signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, you should wait until your symptoms are more pronounced before seeking medical help.
The early symptoms of erythema migrans are the best indicators of a possible infection with Lyme disease. This characteristic usually appears before the adaptive immune response is present. Patients with this rash should seek treatment as soon as possible. The bullseye pattern is present in a small percentage of cases.
This rash is often painless, and it is accompanied by non-specific flu-like symptoms. If you suspect that you have Lyme disease, it’s important to undergo a complete skin examination. Because erythema migrans is one of the only clinical manifestations distinct enough to make a diagnosis without a laboratory test, it’s best to have it tested to be certain.
Erythema migrans is a common skin lesion associated with Lyme disease. It typically begins as a small erythematous macule and enlarges in a centrifugal, annular manner. It can be up to 10 cm in diameter and is characterized by varying redness. Sometimes, the lesion has a punctum at its center. A skin lesion can develop anywhere from two to thirty days after tick bite.
If you suspect that you have Lyme disease, the first step is to get a Lyme disease test. The first test is a Western blot, which uses a special technique that identifies antibodies. The antibodies react with a panel of 10 proteins from the Lyme bacteria. In order for the result to be positive, 5 out of 10 bands must be positive. This test is the most accurate of the three types of tests, with an accuracy rate of about 80% in the best laboratories.
ELISA is the most common test for detecting antibodies to Lyme bacteria. However, it can be falsely negative up to 50% of the time, so it should only be used as a screening test for Lyme disease. If the ELISA test is positive, a second test should be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Chronic Lyme disease
A chronic Lyme disease test looks for bacteria that cause the infection. The bacteria can be found in the body’s blood, spinal fluid, and intestines. These bacteria can trigger the activation of your immune system and result in symptoms of the disease. The good news is that there are effective treatment options.
The first step to treating Lyme disease is to get an early diagnosis. While most people recover from the disease, up to 20% of individuals can develop chronic symptoms. This is often disabling and requires medical treatment. It is best to treat the rash as soon as possible to decrease the risk of chronic symptoms.
Lyme disease symptoms
Although you may not have experienced any obvious symptoms, it is important to visit your doctor for a Lyme disease test. Although this test is rarely positive until four to six weeks after the infection, it is still vital to start antibiotic treatment. The symptoms of Lyme disease are typically not severe.
The ticks that carry the disease are small and do not cause much pain. They live in wooded areas, grasslands, and neighborhood yards. You can also find ticks in your own garden. You should always take steps to prevent tick bites and prevent tick infestation in your home.
Testing for antibodies is also necessary if you suspect that you have Lyme disease. The test is based on a process called Western blot. This procedure uses electricity to break up proteins in the blood and compares them to the patterns of people with the disease. If the bands match, the results are positive. However, not all labs use the same methods for performing this test.
Lyme disease rash
A positive Lyme disease rash test does not necessarily mean that a person has an active infection. Rather, a positive test result means that a person has recently been exposed to the disease-causing agent. It may also indicate that a person has been exposed to the agent in the past. The antibody response to the infection takes time to develop. During this time, a person may not have any symptoms of the disease.
The most common rash indicating the presence of Lyme disease is an inflamed rash resembling a bull’s-eye on a dartboard. The center of the rash is red, and the ring surrounding it is clear. This rash can be up to 12 inches across and appears about 30 days after a person has been bitten by a tick. The rash may last for a few weeks, or may disappear and reappear at a later date. If the rash is persistent or recurs after the rash has healed, a physician should order blood tests.