Lyme Disease Diagnosis

Lyme Disease is often a clinical diagnosis, based on a person's exposure to ticks, their symptoms, and their physical examination findings. Because symptoms and findings may differ from patient to patient, making the diagnosis can be difficult.

Commercial laboratory tests for Lyme Disease are unreliable and insensitive, missing a substantial number of actual cases. Negative test results do not rule out Lyme disease.

Antibody tests detect the body's adaptive immune response to the infection caused by the pathogen rather than detecting the pathogen itself. For example, in the case of COVID-19, both the US CDC, FDA, and other bodies cautioned against the use of antibody tests because of their accuracy as a diagnostic tool:

Negative Lyme antibody tests should not be used to deny treatment to patients with Lyme disease. There is an urgent need for more accurate testing. In the meantime, Lyme disease often requires a clinical diagnosis.

Test tubes