Lyme Disease Ab with Reflex to Blot (IgG, IgM)

The Lyme Disease Ab with Reflex to Blot (IgG, IgM) test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Description: The Lyme disease antibody test is testing for Borrelia antibodies. Borrelia is the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. The immune system produces antibodies to fight against the infection of Borrelia, or Lyme disease.

Also Known As: Borrelia burgdorferi Test, Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot Test, Lyme Disease antibodies Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Lyme Disease Antibody test ordered?

When a person shows signs and symptoms of Borrelia infection and lives in or has visited a place where deer ticks, also known as black-legged ticks, are abundant, especially if the person has recently been bitten by a tick, Lyme disease testing is required.

Testing may be repeated after a few weeks if initial testing is negative but the suspicion of Lyme disease remains strong.

When a person does not have typical Lyme disease symptoms or a history of tick bites, and has not traveled to a Lyme disease-endemic area, a healthcare provider may rule out alternative possibilities before diagnosing and testing for Lyme disease.

What does a Lyme Disease Antibody blood test check for?

The bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii, which are transported predominantly by the deer tick, often known as the black-legged tick, cause Lyme disease. Borrelia antibodies in the blood are measured in Lyme disease tests.

The body's immune system produces these antibodies in reaction to exposure to Borrelia, the organism that causes Lyme disease. Infected deer ticks or black-legged ticks bite humans and transfer the bacterium. In areas where these ticks reside, such as the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and midwestern United States, the disease is most common in the spring and summer.

A distinctive erythema migrans or "bulls-eye" rash that develops from the bite site, fever, chills, headache, and exhaustion are all indications of Lyme disease infection. Lyme disease can progress to cause intermittent joint pain and swelling, facial paralysis, weakening and numbness in the arms and legs, meningitis, memory issues, and in rare cases, heart and vision problems if left untreated.

It takes time for the immune system to produce antibodies against Borrelia. Two types of antibodies can be detected using laboratory tests. IgM antibodies are normally evident two to three weeks after the commencement of infection, while IgG antibodies are seen several weeks later.

Lab tests often ordered with a Lyme Disease Antibody test:

  • Babesia Microti Antibodies
  • Bartonella Species Antibodies
  • Ehrlichia Chaffeensis Antibodies
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Antibody Panel

Conditions where a Lyme Disease Antibody test is recommended:

  • Lyme Disease

How does my health care provider use a Lyme Disease Antibody test?

Lyme disease tests are performed to see if a person has been infected with the germs Borrelia burgdorferi or Borrelia mayonii and has the symptoms of the disease. Antibodies generated by the immune system in response to infection are detected by the tests.

IgM and IgG antibodies can be detected via laboratory tests.

Antibodies to Borrelia IgM are frequently present in the blood two to three weeks after exposure. IgM concentrations peak about six weeks and then start to drop.

IgG antibodies are not detectable for many weeks after exposure, peak at four to six months, and can last for several years.

To identify these antibodies and confirm a diagnosis of Lyme disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using two alternative procedures. The initial test is designed to be extremely sensitive in order to detect as many Lyme disease cases as possible. When a person does not have Lyme disease but does have another condition, such as another tick-borne disease, syphilis, or an autoimmune ailment like lupus, it may be positive. If the initial test yields a positive result, a second test using a different method is done to validate the findings. 

Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose at times. If a person has removed a tick from his or her skin, has had a known tick bite, and lives in or has visited an area of the country where Lyme disease is common, the timing of the probable infection can be accurately predicted. However, because the tick is about the size of a pinhead, the bite may go unnoticed. Not everyone will get the rash, and the symptoms that do occur may be nonspecific and flu-like in the beginning, with joint pain that progresses to chronic arthritis and/or neurological problems that appear months later.

What do my Lyme Disease antibody test results mean?

Antibodies are not produced in a healthy adult who has never been infected with Borrelia germs.

If a person exhibits signs and symptoms, as well as positive EIA or IFA and western blot tests, it is likely that they have Lyme disease.

If a person tests positive for IgM antibody but negative for IgG and western blot, they may have had a recent infection or a false-positive test result.

If an IgM result is undetectable but the IgG and Western blot tests are positive, the person examined is likely to have a later stage infection or to have had an infection previously.

If all tests come out negative, the person's symptoms are either caused by something else or the antibody levels are too low to detect at that time; retesting in 2 to 3 weeks may be required to confirm or rule out infection.

If the IgM and western blot are negative but the IgG is positive, the person has either recovered from Lyme disease or the symptoms are due to cross reactive antibodies plus something else.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme Disease Ab with Reflex to Blot IgG IgM

Lyme Ab Screen

*Process times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. The lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

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