The Lyme Disease Antibodies (IgG, IgM), Immunoblot test contains 1 test with 15 biomarkers.
Brief Description: The Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test is a laboratory test used to detect specific antibodies to the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is responsible for causing Lyme disease. This test helps confirm the presence of antibodies against the bacterium and aids in the diagnosis of 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 Antibodies test ordered?
A Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test may be ordered in the following scenarios:
Suspected Lyme Disease: The test is primarily ordered when a person presents with symptoms suggestive of Lyme disease, such as rash, joint pain, fatigue, and neurological symptoms. It is commonly ordered if a person has been exposed to tick-infested areas or has a history of tick bites.
Confirmation of Lyme Disease: The test is often used to confirm a diagnosis of Lyme disease when other screening tests, such as the enzyme immunoassay (EIA) or the indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) test, show positive or equivocal results. The immunoblot test provides more specific information regarding the presence of antibodies to B. burgdorferi.
What does a Lyme Disease Antibodies 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 Antibodies test:
When a Lyme Disease IgG/IgM Immunoblot test is ordered, it's often part of a broader evaluation of symptoms suggestive of Lyme disease or for differential diagnosis of other conditions. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside it:
Complete Blood Count (CBC):
- Purpose: Provides a broad picture of overall blood health.
- Why Is It Ordered: To assess for signs of infection or inflammation, which can accompany Lyme disease.
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) or Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR):
- Purpose: Non-specific markers of inflammation.
- Why Is It Ordered: To assess the level of inflammation, which can be elevated in Lyme disease and other infectious or inflammatory conditions.
Other Tick-Borne Disease Tests (Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis):
- Purpose: To test for other diseases that can be transmitted by ticks.
- Why Is It Ordered: Symptoms of Lyme disease can overlap with other tick-borne diseases, so additional testing may be necessary for a differential diagnosis.
Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP):
- Purpose: To assess kidney and electrolyte status.
- Why Is It Ordered: To evaluate overall health and ensure there are no underlying conditions that might complicate Lyme disease or its treatment.
Liver Function Test:
- Purpose: To assess liver health.
- Why Is It Ordered: Lyme disease and its treatment can affect liver function, so these tests can monitor liver status.
These tests, when ordered alongside a Lyme Disease IgG/IgM Immunoblot test, provide a comprehensive view of an individual’s health status in relation to possible Lyme disease. They are important for confirming the diagnosis, assessing the severity of the disease, ruling out other conditions, and guiding appropriate treatment. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual's symptoms, exposure history, and initial test results.
Conditions where a a Lyme Disease Antibodies test is recommended:
A Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test is used to diagnose Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by the transmission of B. burgdorferi through the bite of infected ticks. It primarily affects the skin, joints, nervous system, and other body systems. Symptoms include a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans, along with fever, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint aches, and neurological symptoms.
How does my health care provider use a Lyme Disease Antibodies 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 CDC 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 antibodies 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.
Most Common Questions About the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test:
Understanding the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot Test
What is the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test?
The Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test is a diagnostic tool used to detect antibodies (IgG and IgM) in the blood that are produced in response to Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Why is the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test done?
This test is often done when Lyme disease is suspected based on a person's symptoms and possible exposure to black-legged ticks, which are known to carry the bacteria.
What does it mean if both IgG and IgM antibodies are detected in the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test?
If both types of antibodies are detected, it could suggest a current or recent infection with Borrelia burgdorferi. Typically, IgM antibodies appear within a week of infection and decline over time, while IgG antibodies appear more slowly but persist for years.
Interpreting the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot Test Results
How are results of the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test interpreted?
The presence of IgM and/or IgG antibodies specific to Borrelia burgdorferi would be indicated as "positive" or "reactive" on the test report, suggesting an active or past infection. However, the test's interpretation must be correlated with clinical symptoms and other diagnostic information.
Can the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test distinguish between a current and past infection?
The Immunoblot test itself does not distinguish between a current and past infection. Generally, IgM antibodies appear and peak earlier in an infection, while IgG antibodies appear later and remain for years. However, both types of antibodies can be present during various stages of the disease.
What factors might affect the results of the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test?
The timing of the test can affect the results. If tested too soon after a tick bite, the body might not have produced enough antibodies to be detected, leading to a false-negative result.
Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot Test and Specific Conditions
Can the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test be used in individuals who do not have obvious symptoms of Lyme disease?
Yes, this test can be used in people who do not have obvious symptoms but are at high risk due to exposure to tick-infested environments. However, testing is most often performed when a person presents with symptoms suggestive of Lyme disease.
Can the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test be used in pregnant women?
Yes, if Lyme disease is suspected, testing can be performed in pregnant women. However, interpreting the results can be complex, and it's important to correlate the findings with clinical symptoms.
What is the significance of the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test in people with unexplained neurological symptoms?
Lyme disease can cause various neurological symptoms. Therefore, if someone has unexplained neurological symptoms and a possible history of tick exposure, this test might be used to help determine if Lyme disease could be the underlying cause.
General Questions About the Test
Can the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test be used to monitor the effectiveness of Lyme disease treatment?
Testing is not typically used to monitor treatment response in Lyme disease. Once the immune system produces antibodies, they may continue to be present for a period of time, even after successful treatment.
Can Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test results be negative in a person with Lyme disease?
Yes, it's possible to have a negative result even if a person has Lyme disease, particularly if the test is performed soon after the tick bite. It typically takes a few weeks for the immune system to produce detectable levels of antibodies.
Are there any limitations to the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test?
Yes, the test may produce false negatives if done too early, before the body has had a chance to produce antibodies. It can also produce false positives, detecting antibodies from other conditions.
Understanding Lyme Disease and Antibody Response
Can I still have Lyme disease if my Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test is negative?
Yes, especially if the test was done soon after the tick bite. It generally takes 2-5 weeks after infection for your immune system to produce enough antibodies to be detected.
Can other infections cause a positive result on the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test?
Yes, some other infections, including syphilis and some types of herpes, can potentially cause a false-positive result. This happens because these infections might produce antibodies that cross-react with the ones tested in the Immunoblot.
What are the next steps if I have a positive Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test?
A positive result should be discussed with your healthcare provider, who will interpret the results in the context of your symptoms and potential exposure to ticks. They may confirm the diagnosis with further tests and will determine the appropriate treatment.
Can the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test be used to determine if I had Lyme disease in the past?
Yes, a positive IgG result could indicate past infection. However, because IgG antibodies can remain for years, the test cannot determine when the infection occurred.
How often should I repeat the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test if I am at a high risk of exposure to Lyme disease?
This would depend on various factors, including symptoms, the level of tick exposure, and personal medical history. Your healthcare provider would be the best person to guide on this.
Can the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test be used in diagnosing other tick-borne illnesses?
No, the test is specific for antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria causing Lyme disease. Other tick-borne illnesses require different tests.
Can the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test confirm Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS)?
No, PTLDS is a condition that occurs in some patients after treatment for Lyme disease when symptoms persist. Diagnosis is based on the exclusion of other potential causes.
What role does the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test play in diagnosing Lyme arthritis?
Lyme arthritis is a late manifestation of Lyme disease. The test can help confirm the presence of antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi in patients with unexplained arthritis.
Are there any other tests used in conjunction with the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test?
Yes, often the Immunoblot test is used as a follow-up to the ELISA test, which is another type of blood test used to detect antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi.
How is the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test different from the ELISA test for Lyme disease?
The Immunoblot test is generally more specific and less likely to produce false-positive results than the ELISA test. It is often used to confirm a positive or equivocal ELISA result.
Can the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test be used to diagnose Lyme disease in animals?
Yes, the test can be used to diagnose Lyme disease in animals, particularly dogs, but the testing process and interpretation may vary from humans.
What should I do if my Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test is positive but I don't have any symptoms?
Some people may have been infected in the past and recovered, either with or without treatment. If you have no symptoms and a low risk of exposure, it could be a false-positive. You should discuss the results with your healthcare provider.
Can I be re-infected with Lyme disease after treatment, and would the Lyme Disease Antibodies IgG IgM Immunoblot test be able to detect it?
Yes, you can be re-infected with Lyme disease if you are bitten again by an infected tick. The test could potentially detect the new infection, but the presence of residual antibodies from the previous infection may complicate interpretation. It's best to discuss these possibilities with your healthcare provider.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.