A tick-borne illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi with more than 200,000 US cases per year
- Treatable by a medical professional
- Spreads by animals or insects
- Requires a medical diagnosis
- Lab tests or imaging often required
- Deer ticks can carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Lyme disease causes a rash, often in a bull’s-eye pattern, and flu-like symptoms. Joint pain and weakness in the limbs also can occur.
Most people with Lyme disease recover completely with appropriate antibiotic treatment. For those who develop syndromes after their infection is treated, pain medications may provide symptomatic relief.
To accurately test for Lyme disease, we use a number of tests – more than one test is usually ordered as borreliosis is extremely good at hiding from view.
- Western blot test – Looks for antibodies directed against a range of Borrelia burgdorferi proteins.
- PCR test – Using this test we check for the bacteria DNA. We take multiple samples, as we can test blood, urine, spinal fluid and small tissue and therefore can test different sites of the body.
- Antigen detection – This test can be performed on urine. We check for toxins.
- CD-57 test – As Lyme disease can suppress the immune system, the results of this test can indicate if borreliosis is present.
- We also check for co-infections – another form of tick-borne disease co-existing with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.