Blood Tests and 
Clinical Diagnosis
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Return to: 2.For those who are ready to determine if they do have Lyme disease 
1.Clinical diagnosis
2.There are no reliable tests for Lyme disease
3.The ELISA test
4.The Western blot test
5.False Negatives
6.Are all testing labs the same?
7.When you are unable to get a clinical diagnosis
8.Ordering a Western Blot and Co-infection Tests outside of Canada
9. Vaccine for Lyme disease?
10. Does having Lyme disease once, immune me from any more infected tick bites?
11.My Experience with IDS MD
** Challenging the bacteria's (cutting through the chase)
*Understanding Western Blot Test Results

The diagnosis is clinical, not the blood test!

Do your own Research Here



A person suffering from Lyme Disease most always
looks deceptively well.

What poison is to food, self pity is to life. (Wilson)

Whether it is emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual exercise, 
it is to improve the quality of
life...not the quantity.~louiseJ

.Diagnosis for Lyme Disease
1.The Clinical diagnosis
Medical textbooks and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) emphasize that Lyme disease is to be a  clinical diagnosis!
(A clinical diagnosis is based on the medical history, listening to all of the patients symptoms,  doing blood tests to eliminate other diseases and doing a physical examination of the patient.)

Public Health Canada say, “The diagnosis of Lyme disease should be made after evaluation of a patient's symptoms and the risk of exposure to infected ticks. Blood tests may be administered in conjunction with clinical diagnosis to demonstrate the presence of antibodies to the bacteria. It should be stressed that the results of blood tests cannot be interpreted in the absence of appropriate clinical information (i.e., symptoms of infection).” 

According to ILADS (the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society), if the medical doctor suspects Lyme disease and sees little reason to believe the patient has some other disease, he or she should begin antibiotic treatment without delay! 

The doctor is to examine the patient for typical Lyme disease signs, listen to the patient’s history and description of his or her symptoms and use this information to make a determination.  Blood tests are usually done at the same time, but cannot be relied upon.

2.There are no reliable tests for Lyme disease:
*  As per Public Health Notifiable Disease Management Guidelines, the two-tier confirmation of Lyme disease  for  surveillance stats purposes, fails to detect up to 90% of cases and does not distinguish between acute, chronic, or resolved infection

*  According to expert MD's who have treated thousands of Lyme disease patients there are no reliable tests for Lyme disease, at this time. 

Your Medical doctor or Naturopathic doctor must base his or her diagnosis on your symptoms, and medical history. 

MD's cannot rely solely on blood tests for Lyme disease, most especially because of the nature of the Bb spirochete bacteria. The spirochetes do not linger in the blood stream.

At present there are a few blood tests available, but all have problems. The blood test typically used by most Canadian family doctors is called an ELISA.

3.ELISA (or Lyme titer)test:
The Elisa Test means nothing if it is negative, and it rarely indicates infection if it is performed too early after the tick bite. 

Patients in later stages of Lyme disease seldom have a positive ELISA test, possibly because they have ceased to produce the antibodies the test looks for. 

Many working with Lyme patients believe that the ELISA test is only about 30-60% accurate. The ELISA test is not based on the specific Lyme bacteria strain that is most useful for accurate diagnosis. 

While a positive ELISA test is a reasonably reliable indication of infection, a negative test is useless. (Positive may indicate that the bacteria happened to be in the blood at the moment the blood was drawn and as well tests have returned false positives.) A screening test should have at least 95% sensitivity and the ELISA misses 35% of culture proven Lyme disease,therefore as a first step of the screening it has been and still is unreliable.

As of 2008, this testing protocol is still being used by many M.D.'s as the sole diagnosis for Lyme disease. 

The Western blot (may be more accurate) but, it is rarely given unless the Elisa was returned positive. These MD's follow guidelines that were created, long ago, before it was realized that Lyme is a clinical diagnoses and blood tests were not reliable.

4.The Western blot test:
The Western blot for Lyme disease often shows infection when an ELISA test does not. 

Even if the test results are not positive by these present standards, any positive Lyme-specific “bands” are useful indicators of infection,but in Canada if ELISA is negative then the Western Blot is not performed. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control have set a criteria for considering a Western blot test as positive for Lyme disease. 

This criteria, which Canadian Public Health Notifiable Disease Management uses, was established for surveillance and statistical analysis of the spread of the disease and were not intended to guide doctors in their diagnosis and treatment. This criteria is very strict and misses many people in Lyme disease surveillance and thus the provincial statistics are unbelievably low. 

Canadian medical doctors who use only the Public Health Notifiable Disease Management Guidelines for surveillance to diagnose or decide whether or not to treat leave many, many infected patients without a diagnosis and therefore these patients are denied of medical treatment that would stop the progression of this disease. The CDC justify this by saying they want to prevent people from getting antibiotic treatment if they do not have Lyme disease. 

Do your own Research Here

5.False Negatives:
Even if the test results are not positive, any positive Lyme-specific “bands” are useful indicators of Borrilia infection. 
6. Are all testing labs the same?
No, they are not. Some labs have made special efforts to focus on tick-borne disease testing and use procedures that make their tests more reliable and sensitive to Lyme disease and its co infections. 

If you want to be tested it is important to choose one of these Labs and make sure it is also one that returns detailed information of the results to your doctor as opposed to the ones that return results of only a simple “positive” or a simple “negative”. 

Unfortunately as of 2009 we have no specialized Lab in Canada. 

Canadians having a gut feeling they are lyme infected, but have had a “negative” ELISA (therefore receive no treatment), sometime believe if they could just prove to their doctor that they do have Lyme that their doctor will give them treatment. So, they invest in an expensive, out of country test at a specialized lab to have the Western blot. They believe that if their doctor could just see the results on a paper, from a reputable lab, that this would convince their family doctor to give them treatment...  but this will not happen, unless you a have a Lyme literate doctor. 

Few Canadian medical doctors acknowledge out of country tick borne test results and others prefer to stay clear of treating Lyme disease completely. They will give you many lame reasons why they cannot treat you. When I look back at my MD experiences,most insults and denials were fear based and others, I truly believe, were completely ignorant about diseases caused by a tick bite and as well, suffered from tunnel vision.

7.When you are unable to get a clinical diagnosis from your family medical doctor
And there are no Lyme literate Naturopathic doctors in your area and you are wanting to use antibiotics as your eradicating agent then it is better to try to get a blood test diagnosis from a specialized lab rather than suffering and leaving the disease progress. You must pay out of your own pocket for these blood tests sent out of country.
8.Ordering a Western Blot and Co-infection Tests outside of Canada
1. Before ordering the test kits, Canadians can contact the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation for more information on reputable Labs, and which area labs, etc. I got mine here.
2. After receiving the kit from the lab, bring the Requisition Form (from the test kit) to your MD. He or she will sign it and put their office address on the form. (This is where the lab will return results.)
3. Take the Requisition Form (completed with your personal info), to your local lab along with your Test Kit.
4. They will draw the blood, package it and take care of the shipping.
5. You will require a Credit card to pay for the shipping and the local lab test.
6. The out of country lab will charge you the fees for their services and the shipping charges.
7. Your MD will receive the results, or you will, depending on the lab.
8. Go to your MD to get your results, but your MD will probably not know how to interpret it, unless your MD is Lyme Literate. The average MD will be glad to copy it and give it to you to get it off their hands.
9. Now you need to find a Lyme Literate doctor to interpret it. The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation may be able to help you find someone who can help you or here.

Understanding Western Blot Test Results 

9.Vaccine for Lyme disease???
There isn't a vaccine available for Lyme disease at this time 2009. There was one vaccine licensed by the Health Protection Branch for use in Canada, but shortly thereafter the manufacturer took that vaccine off the market. Evidence indicated that people with a certain gene might develop an autoimmune arthritic disease from the vaccine. About 30% of the population have this gene, and taking the vaccine could result in severe arthritis.  Perhaps a safe and effective vaccine will be developed in the future, but for now, the only way to avoid contracting Lyme disease is to avoid ticks and the other blood sucking insects, and other.
12.If I have had Lyme disease once, am I then immune from any more infected tick bites?
No. You can get Lyme and other tick borne diseases every time you get a new tick bite. Some Lyme MD's and people with chronic Lyme have observed that each subsequent infection makes symptoms more severe and treatment more difficult. 

11. My Experience with the IDS MD:

The Infectious Disease Specialist looked at the results of the Elisa, that had returned negative, and said it was impossible to get Lyme in Red Deer (2008)because there was no Lyme in Alberta. I wanted him to listen to my symptoms, but, as I started to list a few symptoms he cut in and said, "There is no Lyme in Alberta", I tried again to get a clinical diagnoses by speaking up for my rights and again he repeats,"You do not have Lyme disease. There is no Lyme in Alberta." and the third time he repeated this he simply walked away and left me to swallow all my hope for getting better. He did not want to even peak at my symptoms list and history that I had written down. I left with added anger at having been stifled once again, at having been treated as an insignificant once again, at not having been listened to...once again, by one more MD.

~ Take what you want and leave the rest!~

All content on this website is provided only for your quick information so as to encourage you to do your own research.
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This page last updated January 4th, 2013