The Lyme Disease Antibodies, Total and IgM Test is used to aid in the diagnosis of acute (recent) or chronic infections with Lyme Disease. This test provides the earliest and broadest window for antibody detection. This test provides the same measurement for total antibodies (Igm & IgG) as the Lyme Disease Total Immunoglobulins test as well as a measurement for just the IgM antibodies to help differentiate between recent and past infections.. IgM antibodies usually develop shortly after infection and phase out after a few months. IgG antibodies typically begin to develop several weeks after infection and persist indefinitely. A positive result for the IgM may imply a recent or acute infection and a positive result for the Total IgM/IgG may imply an acute infection or past exposure. The CDC recommends that a positive result for a Lyme Disease Antibody test be followed up with a Western Blot test for confirmation. Western Blot results provide individual measurements for IgM and IgG antibodies which can help to further identify whether an infection is acute or chronic.
Lyme Disease is caused by infection with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. It is most commonly spread by the Deer Tick or Black Legged Tick and is the most common tick-borne illness in the United States and Europe. Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are often similar to other afflictions. While some people will display a distinctive "bulls-eye" rash around the site of the bite, others may experience common flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, and headache. The ticks which spread the disease are typically very small (the size of a pin head) and many people do not even realize they have been bitten. If left untreated, Lyme Disease can cause joint pain, numbness in the arms and legs, facial paralysis, Meningitis, heart problems, or memory problems.
Testing for Lyme Disease is advised when a person is experiencing symptoms associated with Lyme, especially if they have had a recent tick bite or have been in an area where Lyme Disease is prevalent. Testing should also be considered by anyone who has been in an area where Deer Ticks are known to be common. This test is typically ordered when someone believes they have been exposed to Lyme Disease but does not when the exposure occurred. Results for a Total and IgM antibodies test provide more information than a Total Immunoglobulins test which only gives a measurement for Total antibodies (IgM & IgG).
Turnaround time for the Lyme Disease Antibodies, Total and IgM is typically 2-5 business days.
Lyme Disease IgM antibodies usually appear 2 to 3 weeks after an initial exposure and return to normal after about 6 to 8 weeks. The Lyme Disease IgG antibodies may begin to develop several weeks after an intial exposure, reaching maximum levels 4 to 6 months. IgG antibodies may persist indefinitely.
Antibiotics can interfere with test results. Please consult your prescribing physician prior to testing.