New Testing Protocols for Lyme Disease in Humans Being Tested

From Associated Press/CBS News August 17th, 2017

WASHINGTON — Diagnosing if a tick bite caused Lyme or another disease can be difficult but scientists are developing a new way to do it early — using a “signature” of molecules in patients’ blood.

It’s still highly experimental, but initial studies suggest the novel tool just might uncover early-stage Lyme disease more accurately than today’s standard test, researchers reported Wednesday. And it could tell the difference between two tick-borne diseases with nearly identical early symptoms.

“Think about it as looking at a fingerprint,” said microbiology professor John Belisle of Colorado State University, who helped lead the research.

Lyme disease is estimated to infect 300,000 people in the U.S. every year. Lyme-causing bacteria are spread by blacklegged ticks —also called deer ticks — primarily in the Northeast and Midwest, although their range is spreading. Lyme typically starts as a fever, fatigue and flu-like symptoms — often but not always with a hallmark bulls-eye rash — and people usually recover quickly with prompt antibiotics. But untreated, Lyme causes more serious complications, including swollen joints and arthritis, memory and concentration problems, even irregular heartbeat.

 

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