How Reliable are Lyme Disease Tests?

Submitted by Nic on November 12, 2012

Lyme disease is one of the most common illnesses in Europe and Northern America, which is tick borne. This disease occurs when the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria infect the body. This can be quite a serious problem, but if detected and treated in time, complete recovery is possible. Therefore, it is important for people to undergo the required lyme disease tests as soon as any of the symptoms become evident.


Lyme disease can affect different parts of the body and therefore, its signs and symptoms may vary considerably. This means that some symptoms may be evident in some people suffering from lyme disease, whereas the others may not see similar symptoms. However, given below are some of the general symptoms that are caused by Lyme disease:

  • A rash, characterized by tiny red bumps which are warm and tender to the touch
  • Flu-like symptoms which could include body aches, fever, headaches, fatigue, chills
  • Migratory pain in the joints, especially the knees; however, the pain could travel to the other joints
  • Neurological problems, which could even include meningitis and bell's palsy
  • Weakness or numbness in the limbs
  • Impaired muscle movement

There are also certain signs and symptoms of lyme disease that are not very common. These include irregular heartbeat, eye inflammation and severe fatigue. The longer the condition is left untreated, the more severe it gets. Therefore people are advised to undergo the relevant lyme disease test as soon as they suspect that they have been exposed to deer ticks.


It is quite easy for people to confuse lyme disease with other conditions, because the symptoms are not really exclusive. Hence the only way to confirm if a person is indeed suffering from lyme disease is by conducting lyme disease tests. Some of the Lyme disease tests that could be conducted include:

  • The Enzyme Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay (ELISA) test, which is usually the first in a series of lyme disease tests. However, this test is not usually used as the sole method of diagnosis.
  • The western blot test is conducted, in case the ELISA test is positive
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can either be conducted by testing the fluid from an infected joint. However, this method is not as effective as the as lyme disease urine tests or blood tests are believed to be.

There is a lot of information easily available through online resources, on lyme disease symptoms and tests. However, it is best to consult a doctor for any queries in this regard.

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