Lyme Disease Test
Why It Is Done
A Lyme disease test is done to diagnose
Lyme disease in people who have symptoms of Lyme disease. Symptoms may
- An expanding red rash with a pale center. This
is sometimes called a "bull's-eye" rash.
- Extreme tiredness.
- Headache and stiff neck.
and joint pain.
Symptoms of chronic Lyme disease infection include joint
pain, stiffness, and problems with the heart, brain, or nerves.
Testing is most accurate when you have
risk factors for Lyme disease or symptoms of the
How To Prepare
You do not need to do anything before
you have this test.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you
have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what
the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
The health professional taking a sample
of your blood will:
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to
stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is
easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick
may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is
- Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as
the needle is removed.
- Put pressure on the site and then put on a
How It Feels
The blood sample is taken from a vein in
your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight.
You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or
There is very little chance of a problem from
having blood sample taken from a vein.
- You may get a small bruise at the site. You
can lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several
- In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the
blood sample is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be
used several times a day to treat this.
- Ongoing bleeding can be a
problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and
other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have
bleeding or clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell
your doctor before your blood sample is taken.
A Lyme disease test detects
antibodies to the
Lyme disease bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi in the blood. The results of a Lyme disease test to detect
antibodies (ELISA, IFA, Western blot) may be reported in titers. A titer is a
measure of how much the sample can be diluted before the antibodies to the Lyme
disease bacteria can no longer be detected.