Lyme Disease Diagnosis
The growing number of infectious diseases carried by ticks; the emergence of new vector-borne diseases; the unreliability of laboratory tests; and the complexity of symptom presentations and variations in each patient make Lyme disease one of the most perplexing and elusive medical conditions to identify.
Hallmark signs of the disease aren’t always present. Fewer than 50% of patients notice a bull’s-eye rash, and fewer than 50% of patients recall a tick bite.
Diagnosing the disease, particularly in later stages, can be challenging for any physician, even the most experienced. The Lyme spirochete are highly adept at evading the immune system, making both detecting the organism through tests and treating the disease difficult.
Lyme disease has been associated with numerous neurologic, rheumatologic and psychiatric manifestations. However, the full range of symptoms needed to recognize the disease may not be apparent to a physician during a routine examination. learn more →
Many physicians will mistakenly defer to the CDC case definition of Lyme disease in making a diagnosis. This definition was designed as a surveillance monitoring tool to track the number of Lyme disease cases throughout the country. It was not meant to be used in making a clinical diagnosis. learn more →
Lyme disease should be diagnosed clinically, without reliance on testing. However, all too often, physicians will ignore clinical presentations if laboratory tests are negative. Yet there are numerous scientific articles documenting false negatives and low sensitivity of such tests. learn more →