Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease

Please visit, the BC Centre for Disease Control for a comprehensive overview of Lyme disease: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease-borrelia-burgdorferi-infection

Lyme Disease Testing in B.C.

B.C. complies with international best practices for Lyme disease testing. We use a two-tiered method, which is standard across North America and based on the best available scientific evidence.  The two tiered model involves a preliminary  ELISA test, which, after antibodies have developed, is sensitive enough to pick up all varieties of Lyme infection.
 
If that test is positive, it is then followed by the Western Blot test, which further confirms diagnosis. Western blot tests are also available for Borrelia strains that are found in Europe, but not in B.C. So persons who may have a history of Lyme disease acquired  outside of the country can also be reliably diagnosed.
 
Testing will be negative in early infection (generally in the first 14 days), because it takes time for the body to produce antibodies to the infection. Once antibodies are formed, the tests are very good at detecting Lyme; however, no tests are 100 per cent.
 
Caution is advised to patients who are considering getting tested for Lyme disease by some labs in the United States.
There are for-profit labs in the U.S. that follow non-standardized protocols that do not conform to international best practices. Studies have shown these laboratories do not live up to their claim of finding Lyme disease any more effectively than the testing offered here in BC. In fact, a recent evaluation of these tests showed as high as 57% of healthy Lyme disease-free people, were mislabelled as having Lyme disease.  
 
For more information,  Dr David Patrick, Director of the School of Population and Public Health at UBC joined Aaron McArthur on BC1 to talk about Lyme disease in B.C.: http://globalnews.ca/video/2098060/explaining-the-mysteries-of-lyme-disease