Lyme Disease Testing

 

Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), which is transmitted to humans through a tick bite. As the infection spreads it can infiltrate multiple tissues and systems throughout the body and nervous system, creating debilitating symptoms for the sufferer.

Often lyme disease goes undiagnosed for many years with the patient not knowing what is wrong with them; or it is misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and MS. It often goes undetected as:

  1. If the patient doesn’t recall being bitten by a tick or there is no presence of the bulls eye rash, then doctors don’t consider testing for lyme. However in over 50% of cases the rash does not develop nor does the patient recall a bite.
  2. Standard testing uses the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) blood test, which may or may not be followed by the Western blot.Both of these produce a high incidence of false negatives as they only measure antibodies to the infection. However, antibodies may not be present for a number of reasons. E.g. there may not have been enough time for them to develop; the immune system may be suppressed (lyme is known to do this); or the immune system may not detect the Lyme, as the bacteria are able to change shape and ‘hide’.

Read more about Lyme Disease Treatment.

 

How do we test for Lyme disease?

At the London Clinic of Nutrition we use a clinical diagnosis based on your medical history, symptoms and exposure to ticks. We also use results from the Richard Horowitz questionnaire to help us decide if further testing is necessary; this questionnaire has been scientifically validated in its ability to differentiate lyme disease from healthy individuals.

If further testing is needed then we use a combination of the 3 markers listed below. We run this through ArminLabs - founded by Dr. Armin Schwarzbach who has been at the forefront of tick-borne research for more than 20 years. We prefer to use the combination of 3 markers as the bacteria have the ability to ‘hide’. However, it is also possible to just run 2 markers (Elispot & CD57+) and still have an accurate result.

Elispot – The Elispot detects the presence of the actual bacteria (rather than an immune response to it).It is highly sensitive and can detect even one single Borrelia burgdorferi-reactive T-cell.

Seraspot – This tests for the presence of antibodies. It is similar to the ELISA test but is more specific and sensitive in detecting Borrelia antibodies.

CD57+ cell count - While acute Borrelia burgdorferi infections and other diseases show normal CD57+ parameters, chronic Lyme patients often have less than 100 CD57+ cells/μl. A low CD57 count can therefore give us an indication if lyme is present.

 

Armin Test

Cost: 3 markers (Elispot, Seraspot & CD57+) - £510 (includes blood draw, courier and 15min consultation for interpretation)

Cost: 2 markers (Elispot & CD57+) - £390 (includes blood draw, courier and 15min consultation for interpretation)

Sample requirement: Blood (phlebotomy required)

Turn around time: 5 days

* Please note that this blood test should not be conducted within 6 weeks of taking antibiotics

 

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