Lyme Disease Detection: Improving Diagnostics is the Key to Combatting Chronic Lyme

The news this year is focused on the expectation that it is going to be a terrible year for ticks with expected increases in Lyme disease cases. In an effort to inform the public, many of these stories share Lyme disease symptoms, Lyme disease prevention tips, and tick control methods. While the value of this information is important, there is an often ignored fact when it comes to the life-altering fate of many Lyme disease sufferers, the extreme difficulty in getting an accurate Lyme disease diagnosis.

Why is Lyme Disease in Humans Hard to Detect?

Lyme disease is a tricky bacteria. It enters the body through the blood stream, but quickly moves to “other tissues like joints, the heart and the brain.” Without it staying in the blood, it is difficult to identify in blood samples.

According to Dr. Paul Fiedler, as reported by The Hour, the most advanced Lyme disease testing currently available tests for the antibodies our body produces in response to the bacteria. It can take several weeks for antibodies to develop, leaving someone in the early phases of Lyme disease with a false negative, leading to misdiagnosis and lack of treatment.

Without clear evidence of a Lyme disease “bulls-eye” rash or a noticed tick bite, the negative test result sends doctors down other paths due to the ambiguous flu-like symptoms. Without early diagnosis and treatment, patients have a higher likelihood of suffering from chronic Lyme disease symptoms.

New Lyme Testing On the Horizon

Dr. Fiedler is using the science behind the Human Genome Project to extract DNA from blood samples to create a more accurate Lyme disease testing method. By using blood samples from Lyme patients collected by the Western Connecticut Health Network, his team has been able to use Lyme infected blood versus samples from those not infected, to determine a new more accurate test for Lyme disease. With potential clinical trials this summer, he hopes he can make the test affordable enough for community hospitals to gain easy access.

An additional benefit of his new Lyme testing method is the ability to determine the precise type of bacteria infecting each Lyme patient. As Borrelia has many different strands, it is theorized that those suffering chronic Lyme after treatment need different antibodies catered to their specific bacteria.

While we await the science to catch up to the growing need for better Lyme diagnosis and treatment, we’ll continue to offer support in the form of Lyme disease prevention. At Mosquito Squad of Louisville, our tick control treatments eliminate up to 90% of ticks from your property for care-free outdoor living. Call today for a free quote.