Lyme disease (LD) is an increasing public health problem. Current laboratory testing is insensitive in early infection, the stage at which appropriate treatment is most effective in preventing disease sequelae. The Lyme Disease Biobank (LDB) collects samples from individuals with symptoms consistent with early LD presenting with or without erythema migrans (EM) or an annular, expanding skin lesion and uninfected individuals from areas of endemicity. Samples were collected from 550 participants (298 cases and 252 controls) according to institutional review board-approved protocols and shipped to a centralized biorepository. Testing was performed to confirm the presence of tick-borne pathogens by real-time PCR, and a subset of samples was tested for Borrelia burgdorferi by culture. Serology was performed on all samples using the CDC's standard two-tiered testing algorithm (STTTA) for LD. LD diagnosis was supported by laboratory testing in 82 cases, including positive results by use of the STTTA, PCR, or culture or positive results by two enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for cases presenting with EM lesion sizes of >5 cm. The remaining 216 cases had negative laboratory testing results. For the controls, 43 were positive by at least one of the tiers and 6 were positive by use of the STTTA. The results obtained with this collection highlight and reinforce the known limitations of serologic testing in early LD, with only 29% of individuals presenting with EM lesion sizes of >5 cm yielding a positive result using the STTTA. Aliquots of whole blood, serum, and urine from clinically characterized patients with and without LD are available to investigators in academia and industry for evaluation or development of novel diagnostic assays for LD, to continue to improve upon currently available methods.
Keywords: Lyme disease; biobank; biorepository; diagnostics; serology.