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Doctor insights on: How Long Does It Take For Lyme Disease Show Up In Blood Stream

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Dr. Randy Baker
656 Doctors shared insights

Lyme Disease (Definition)

A condition caused by borrelia burgdorferi. Acute symptoms can include bullseye rash, headaches, joint pain, fever, and flu-like sx. Chronic symptoms can include fibromyalgia symptoms, nerve pain in extremities, mood swings, brain fog, heart problems. Lab diagnoses are not very reliable, and sometimes clinical ...Read more


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What does it mean if your body develops antibodies to Lyme disease And blood work shows my body fighting infection??

What does it mean if your body develops antibodies to Lyme disease And blood work shows my body fighting infection??

Still infected: If your body is still fighting the infection, you will require further treatment even though you have developed some protective antibody to the organism. Think of it as ISIS. Certainly there is resistance to its invasion but the resistance has not killed it yet. ...Read more

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Does lyme disease and Co infections increase the risk of blood clots? And if so by how much? I take 3000 mg fishoil a day would that prevent issues?

Does lyme disease and Co infections increase the risk of blood clots? And if so by how much? I take 3000 mg fishoil a day would that prevent issues?

Definitely not: Lyme disease and other tick borne illnesses should not increase the risk for blood clots. See a hematologist if you suffer from clots. There are things that CAN be done - like no smoking, avoiding birth control pills (estrogens), avoiding long stationary periods (sitting on a plane), avoiding injury to legs/veins, etc. Fish oil is a supplement - probably won't help this situation at all. See an MD ...Read more

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Lyme disease ab plus reflex to igg, igm-wb blood test done today. How long for results and how accurate are they?

Lyme disease ab plus reflex to igg, igm-wb blood test done today. How long for results and how accurate are they?

About a week: The regular lyme test is specific but not very sensitive. There can be many reasons for a false positive result. If it is positive on the screening test it is then sent for the more sensitive western blot test. If the igm test is positive it could represent a recent exposure to lyme disease if the igg is positive it indicates a more distant orast exposure. If the igm is positive you should be eval. ...Read more

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How long do antibodies remain detectable in the blood? I had a clear ELISA for Lyme disease after recurring lightheadedness and brain fog after a possible bite when hiking in the uk but the test was a good 10 months later -would it still be reliable?

How long do antibodies remain detectable in the blood? I had a clear ELISA for Lyme disease after recurring lightheadedness and brain fog after a possible bite when hiking in the uk but the test was a good 10 months later -would it still be reliable?

Some antibodies: Last for years and some others (such as chicken pox) last a lifetime.....It is VERY unlikely that you had a Lyme exposure if the tests are negative in 10 months!

Hope this is helpful
Dr Z ...Read more

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Can a person with disseminated Lyme disease transmit it via a blood donation?

Can a person with disseminated Lyme disease transmit it via a blood donation?

Yes: There is every reason to believe that lyme disease can be transmitted via blood transfusion. This does not mean that someone with lyme will always transmit it; in patients with lyme PCR tests are often negative, meaning it is not always present in the blood, but it is at times and in that case is almost certain to be transmitted. Certainly some with lyme don't know it & donate blood & transmit it. ...Read more

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What is the best Lyme disease test? I've had the basic blood test done, came back negative, but is there a more thorough test to rule it out?

What is the best Lyme disease test? I've had the basic blood test done, came back negative, but is there a more thorough test to rule it out?

Thorough WesternBlot: The screen many doctors use, the elisa, only detects about half of those with lyme. A much more sensitive and specific test is the western blot, but I strongly advise doing this through ignenex in palo alto, a specialty lab, as the test offered by most other labs does not include tests for antibodies to the 31 & 34 kda antigens, which are the most specific antigens for lyme! Please see my comment. ...Read more

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What are blood tests for Lyme disease?

What are blood tests for Lyme disease?

ELISA/West blot.: The 2 main tests are elisa and western blot. Elisa or serology is used for screening to see if there is an antibody response to the b. Burgdorferi spirochete responsible for the disease, while the western blot is a specific test that makes sure the positive response is to this and not a false positive, or a reaction to something else. Pcr, or polymerase chain reaction is another possible test. ...Read more

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Can you have Lyme disease if the blood test comes back negative?

No: Others may argue this point but I firmly believe a positive lyme screen and western blot is essential for the diagnosis. ...Read more

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I recently had a blood test, it showed a potential false pos of hep b, but is there a link between Lyme disease and hepatitis?

NO: Lyme does not cause hepatitis. The clinical presentation of the 2 with aches, pains, fatigue, stiffness, weakness can overlap and be confusing. Lyme needs antibiotics hepatitis does not. See your doctor. ...Read more

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For physical exam blood tests, Do doctors usually check for Lyme disease or does it get noticed in the blood? Does that have to be requested?

For physical exam blood tests, Do doctors usually check for Lyme disease or does it get noticed in the blood? Does that have to be requested?

Blood tests: "Routine" blood tests do not check for Lyme disease. A blood test for Lyme disease would be done when a suspicion for the disease from the history and/or physical warrants it. ...Read more

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I had a blood test (Western Blot), to check for Lyme Disease. The results look strange (0.45). This doesn't look like the result of any WB test I have?

I had a blood test (Western Blot), to check for Lyme Disease. The results look strange (0.45). This doesn't look like the result of any WB test I have?

Probably not Lyme: Your Western Blot would need to be above 5 for a conclusive confirmation of Lyme disease. Unless you also had known tick bite, low-grade fever, "erythema migrants", you probably had a viral illness that should resolve on its own. Do discuss this with your primary medical provider or specialist if symptoms persist. ...Read more

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My doctor ordered a routine lab req for blood work. Can it detect Lyme disease?

My doctor ordered a routine lab req for blood work. Can it detect Lyme disease?

No: Routine blood work should not include testing for Lyme disease. The test is only to be run if there is suspicion that the individual has been infected and has the disease. Cholesterol and blood sugar are good screening tests. Tests for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Lyme disease are NOT screening tests as there are many false positives. ...Read more

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Can chronic lyme disease cause your blood test to be post for hep c?

Can chronic lyme disease cause your blood test to be post for hep c?

No: These two disease are caused by very different micro-organisms. Both can be treated, but with different medications. ...Read more

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Will the regular blood test and western blot test for Lyme disease rule out someone having it?

Will the regular blood test and western blot test for Lyme disease rule out someone having it?

It is a good test..: Enzyme-linked immunassay is a sreening test which if positive will be confirmed with a western-blot (=standard of testing). Although not absolutely 100%, a negative western blot is a good bet that there is no lyme at the time of testing. Early disease/infection may have negative test, thus recommended retesting in about 3 wks. Lyme dna testing is better, but more expensive. Consult doc. Good luck. ...Read more

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Is it common for a blood test to miss Lyme disease? Also can Lyme disease lead to weight loss?

Is it common for a blood test to miss Lyme disease? Also can Lyme disease lead to weight loss?

Yes to both: It is fairly common for lab tests for lyme disease to be a false negative. The cdc criteria for a positive test is so strict that it might miss up to 50% of patients who have lyme disease. ...Read more

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How accurate is a blood test for Lyme antibodies in diagnosing whether a patient actually has Lyme disease?

How accurate is a blood test for Lyme antibodies in diagnosing whether a patient actually has Lyme disease?

What to ask: In general, accredited labs must validate the performance characteristics for tests they offer. That can be hard for a dx like Lyme where there are few definite criteria and many vague symptoms. Antibody testing is very sensitive, but antibodies themselves cross-react. The most sensitive and specific tests aim to detect DNA specific to the organism. Ask the lab for the performance profile of test. ...Read more

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What herxheimer reactions can occur when treating chronic Lyme disease? My blood feels poisoned...Rage, dysesthesias, and fatigue are way worse...

When spirochetes: Killed, they release what is called exotoxins. Those toxins are extremely powerful vasodilators as result people develop low blood pressure, high heart rate and other symptoms systemic manifestations. I have seen the worst jerish hexhimers's reaction with louse born relapsing fever treated with penicillin. People die from such reaction than the disease itself (i mean relapsing fever). ...Read more

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What do you suggest if my doctor ordered a routine lab req for blood work. Will it detect Lyme disease?

No: We don't look for the routinely. Actually, there's some dispute as to just how sensitive the usual Lyme serologies are. If you're concerned that you may be a Lyme patient, talk about this with your physician. ...Read more

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I have a bullseye rash around a tick bite but do not have any other symptoms of Lyme disease. Do I need to get a blood test?

I have a bullseye rash around a tick bite but do not have any other symptoms of Lyme disease. Do I need to get a blood test?

Not just Lyme: Avoid being "lyme-centric"! depending on geography, there are several other tick borne diseases (e.g. Anaplasmosis, babesia, human monocytic or granulocytic erlichiosis) that co-infects with lyme (caused by b. Burgdorferi), or else, the diagnosis is something other than lyme (eg. Relapsing fever caused by b. Hermsii & southern tick -associated rash illness [stari] caused by a diffferent tick. ...Read more

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Can blood test be false negative for Lyme disease? Bulls eye bite on 8/16/13 but symptoms much worse since anesthesia from g.B. Removal on 10/11/13

YES!!!: A bulls-eye rash is pathognomonic of lyme, meaning it alone generally proves you got it. Blood tests are notoriously unreliable for lyme-only half with lyme have a positive eia & the confirmatory western blot has many false negatives, esp. If not done by igenex, the only lab with a reliable test! Ultimately lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis. Treatment requires a comprehensive approach. See comment. ...Read more

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Hi, I smoke weed every day and I'm also on doxycycline hyclate for early stage Lyme disease, I'm finding Bright red blood diarrhea now?

Hi, I smoke weed every day and I'm also on doxycycline hyclate for early stage Lyme disease, I'm finding Bright red blood diarrhea now?

Blood: Usually bright red blood results from hemorrhoidal bleeding and is less concerning than a darker, purplish jelly like blood which stems from higher up. See a doctor today. Check a CBC to evaluate for anemia. Have an exam to see if you have bleeding hemorrhoids. Stop any blood thinners like aspiring. Please get help. ...Read more

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5 days sore throat, severe body/joint ache & fever (100-102). Thought it was strep or virus, but today I find a bullseye-like bite on my trunk. Can it be Lyme disease? Is it too early for blood test?

5 days sore throat, severe body/joint ache & fever (100-102). Thought it was strep or virus, but today I find a bullseye-like bite on my trunk. Can it be Lyme disease? Is it too early for blood test?

Epidemiology: When early lyme is suspected, the diagnosis is based on clinical grounds. Taking a picture of the rash & having a doctor examine it before it disappear is advisable. Other things can cause a bulls eye rash such as a fixed drug eruption, southern tick-associated rash illness, etc. Early recognition is very important. Its too early for an antibody blood test. Epidemiology will help your doc answer. ...Read more

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How long willit take for the "bulls eye" to come up to show you have Lyme disease from a deer tick?

How long willit take for the "bulls eye" to come up to show you have Lyme disease from a deer tick?

3-30 days or never: A bulls-eye rash (erythema migrans) after a tick bite is considered a sure sign that one has been infected with lyme & appears 3-30 days after the bite (usually 3-7 days). However, half or more of those proven to have lyme do not recall this rash. One should therefore not wait to see if they develop this rash to seek preventive treatment. The sooner treatment is started after exposure the better! ...Read more

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How long does it take for Lyme disease fever to go down with oral antibiotic therapy?

Depends: If you caught the disease early, in stage 1 with the initial fever and rash, fever should resolve within a couple of days of starting the antibiotic. If the disease had progressed further before treatment was initiated, it may take a lot longer to become fever free - even 10-14 days. Make sure you don't skip doses and let your doc know if any new symptoms or you're not feeling better. ...Read more

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How long is it supposed to it take for Lyme disease symptoms to appear?

About 2 weeks: Symptoms will generally start about 2 weeks after the bite. ...Read more

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How long does it take for tick bite to actually cause Lyme disease?

How long does it take for tick bite to actually cause Lyme disease?

Days to months: It takes just days for a bite from the deer tick to result in sin lesions, but weeks to months to develop arthritis or neurological disorders. ...Read more

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Please tell me how long it takes for to recover from Lyme disease?

It depends: It depends of the stage of the disease and the specific area of the body affected. Primary disease will usually resolve in about 2 weeks. ...Read more

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If you ever get rid of Lyme disease, how long will this take?

Controversial: Doctors disagree on whether "chronic lyme disease" exists at all. It can however take a very long time (weeks to months) for all the symptoms to resolve once the infection is removed. ...Read more

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I've been put on Lymecycline for Lyme disease after 7 months undiagnosed. How long can I expect it to take till I start feeling improvement?

Possibly never...: Antibiotics in adequate doses usually cure Lyme if started within a week or 2, but are seldom curative when you've been infected for 7 months. Unfortunately, they may do more harm than good at this stage. The best treatments now are herbs & antibiotics. It's important to be tested & treated for co-infections like Babesia & Bartonella. Find a doc who is knowledgeable in treating Lyme. See comment: ...Read more