Why is our local Lyme Testing less accurate?
Many patients ask me this question. They come in saying, "I've heard it is not accurate" but very few know why. Here is a quick rundown of why it can miss some infections.
1. Timing - If the test is run too soon (within a week or two of the bite) or too late (three months after the bite) the test can be less accurate.
2. Strains - there are well over 20 identified Lyme bacteria known to cause disease. In fact, some argue that there are over 50. Provincial lab testing typically tests between 1-3 depending on the test. Again, a chance to miss an infection.
3. Partial treatment - many times a patient will be sick but not realize that it is Lyme disease. They then proceed to get a sinus infection or something like that and are given 7-10 days of antibiotics. When a person is given a short dose of antibiotics, this can stop the immune system from maturing or seroconverting; therefore, dropping the sensitivity of the test. Typical sensitivity can be as low as 18% - which means that 82% of patients are missed. If they are partially treated, the sensitivity drops even lower!
4. Wrong Bug! It might not be Lyme. Many other bacteria can be passed on through Tick or insect bites. Babesia, Erhlichia / Anaplasma, Bartonella, Rickettsia etc. The test may show negative because it is testing for the wrong infection. That is why a full panel with co-infections is necessary.
Labs that we use or have access to: Arminlabs - Germany, IgeneX - USA, DNA Connexions - USA, MDL labs - USA