Lyme Testing

Check out my post Why All The False Negative Test Results In Lyme Disease Testing? for much on why current Lyme disease tests are so flawed and why so many people who have Lyme disease are being misdiagnosed, especially when their doctor relies solely upon current Lyme disease blood tests for a diagnosis (note: Lyme disease was always meant to be a clinical diagnosis, not one based upon blood tests). The lab most used by Lyme Literate doctors is IGeneX – on a double-blind government proficiency tests, IGenex did well. They have the most sensitive and specific blood tests for Lyme disease. My Lyme doc only had me take their Western Blot IgG AND Western blot IgA, which was $200 (your insurance company may reimburse you in part or whole).

Here are some pithy reasons why one may get a false negative on the 2-step blood test used in most hospitals and commercial labs throughout the country:

Reasons Why A Seronegative Test Result Might Occur

Tom Grier, Lyme Alliance

1. Recent infection before immune response

2. Antibodies are in immune complexes

3. Spirochete encapsulated by host tissue (i.e. lymphocytic cell walls)

4. Spirochete are deep in host tissue

5. Blebs in body fluid, no whole organisms needed for PCR

6. No spirochetes in body fluid on day of test

7. Genetic heterogeneity (300 strains in U.S.)

8. Antigenic variability

9. Surface antigens change with temperature

10. Utilization of host protease instead of microbial protease

11. Spirochete in dormancy phase

12. Recent antibiotic treatment

13. Recent anti-inflammatory treatment

14. Concomitant infection with babesia may cause immunosuppression

15. Other causes of immunosuppression

16. Lab with poor technical capability for Lyme disease

17. Lab tests not standardized for late stage disease

18. Lab tests labeled “for investigational use only”

19. CDC criteria is epidemiological, not a diagnostic criteria”


A great article on the flaws in diagnosing current Lyme disease was written by Pamela Weintraub, author of Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic. Click here to read the article

Lastly, here are 9 more reasons (a bit more in-depth) as to why the standard Lyme disease blood tests produce so many false negatives:

Nine Reasons for False Negative Lyme Disease Blood Test Results
From the Lyme Disease Foundation brochure, Frequently Asked Questions About Lyme Disease

1. Antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) are present, but the laboratory is unable to detect them.

2. Antibodies against Bb may not be present in detectable levels in a patient with Lyme disease because the patient is currently on, or has recently taken, antibiotics. The antibacterial effect of antibiotics can reduce the body’s production of antibodies.

3. Antibodies against Bb may not be present in detectable levels in a patient with Lyme disease because the patient is currently on or has previously taken anti-inflammatory steroidal drugs These can suppress a person’s immune system, thus reducing or preventing an antibody response.

4. Antibodies against Bb may not be present in detectable levels in a patient with Lyme disease because the patient’s antibodies may be bound with the bacteria with not enough free antibodies available for testing.

For this reason, some of the worst cases of Lyme disease test negative — too much bacteria for the immune system to handle.

5. Antibodies against Bb may not be present in detectable levels in a patient with Lyme disease because the patient could be immunosuppressed for a number of other reasons, and the immune system is not reacting to the bacteria.

6. Antibodies against Bb may not be present in detectable levels in a patient with Lyme disease because the bacteria has changed its makeup (antigenic shift) limiting recognition by the patient’s immune system.

7. Antibodies against Bb may not be present in detectable levels in a patient with Lyme disease because the patient’s immune response has not been stimulated to produce antibodies, i.e., the blood test is taken too soon after the tick-bite (8-6 weeks).

Please do not interpret this statement as implying that you should wait for a positive test to begin treatment.

8. Antibodies against Bb may not be present in detectable levels in a patient with Lyme disease because the laboratory has raised its cutoff too high.

9. Antibodies against Bb may not be present in detectable levels in a patient with Lyme disease because the patient is reacting to the Lyme bacteria, but is not producing the “right” bands to be considered positive.” (

If you need financial help with Lyme disease blood testing, read my article on how to get financial assistance through the Lyme-TAP program:

Funds For Those In Need To Get Lyme Diagnostic Testing Now Available Through Lyme Test Access Program (Lyme-TAP)!


17 comments for “Lyme Testing

  1. MaryClaire Muzzie
    May 17, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    the Elisa test was positive for lyme and my doctor put me on Doxycycl HYC 100mg twice a day. I was taking these pills for 3 days when I took the Western Blot test. It came back negative for lyme. Should I have the test repeated or except it’s negative?

    • Danielle
      May 17, 2011 at 11:16 pm

      Hi MaryClaire,
      I would not accept the negative result. The tests are often unreliable unfortunately, and Lyme disease should really be made by clinical diagnosis. Did you get the Western Blot done through IgeneX lab in California? They have the most sensitive and specific tests for Lyme disease. Here is an article I wrote on Lyme testing that may help

      I would try to see a Lyme literate doctor if possible

      • August 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm

        You can definitely see your slklis within the work you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

      • August 5, 2014 at 10:16 am

        They are both beautiful! For its pursope as a book cover, I think the wrap around is better. The larger sky area is the perfect place for the title, without covering up your artwork, plus the lake forms a slightly askew heart. And I like the splash of pink it feels happy.

    • August 1, 2014 at 3:47 am

      Dr. DeWitt, as usual is absolutely coerrct. While hepatitis and alcohol abuse are the most common definable causes, there are many other reasons other than hepatitis or ethanol abuse to have cirrhosis (nodular fibrosis of the liver). When the cause is not definable, it is referred to as cryptogenic cirrhosis.BTW, hepatitis as a word means inflammation of the liver , but the viruses that have been identified that do that are labelled Hepatitis A, B, C and delta hepatitis. EBV, CMV, other viral syndromes and several parasites can infect the liver, and sclerosing cholangitis or cholangiocarcinoma, among others cause nodular fibrosis along the biliary tree.

    • August 3, 2014 at 9:22 am

      I am so sorry to hear that baby sage is sick i will continue to pray for u and Ur falmiy. I know the feeling at least his pediatrician did test him´╗┐ my dd doctor wont test her so i am looking for a new one. lots of gentle hugs <3

  2. Gene Bpoyd
    September 30, 2011 at 6:02 am

    Would you e-mail me the instruction on the GB4000…Best Regards Gene

  3. April 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I see a naturopathic physician who used the CD-57 test to diagnose my Lyme. And to cure it, she used a homeopathic remedy from Deseret Biologicals. I consider myself lucky that it was she who figured out what was wrong with me!

  4. Carl C.
    May 18, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Could please please send me the information on the GB4000 by e-mail – Thank you

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  6. Robyn
    May 19, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease. Some one I know asked if I thought it was caused from my Lyme Disease that I was diagnosed with in 2008. I said no, not thinking that they were connected. When I was first diagnosed with Lyme, I went through a month of antibiotics (IV and oral) and was retested and still tested positive. My doctor at the time waited 30 days and re-tested, still positive. When I made the move to Kaiser, I let them know that history and was put in touch with the infectious disease department. They gave me another test, but not the western blot that I originally tested positive to 3 times. Their test came back negative and I insisted that they test using the Western Blot and they replied that they did not have access to that particular test and just put me on another 30 days of antibiotics. Now 7 years later I am diagnosed with Hashimoto’s after weight gain, fatigue, sore throat, depression, swollen painful right knee, and nausea 24/7. I am beginning to think that there is a correlation between the two diseases. We know for sure I have the Hashimoto’s due to the antibody testing. I am now on levothyroxine and an anti-depressant. Should I have the doctor test the Lyme as well? Not sure where to turn and really tired of feeling horrible.

  7. Linda Ruocco
    May 23, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I discovered 2 tics embedded in my skull, had the test which came out negative but since then Ive had alot of health isues. I live at the Jersey Shore and would like the name of a Lyme literate physician. Please help! Thank you.

  8. Kathy Brown
    April 29, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Can you recommend a Lyme Disease Specialist here in Spokane WA?

  9. janetlarson
    December 2, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    This is very helpful. I have been feeling quite ill and a lyme antibody test just came back positive with “Borrelia burgdorferi 41 kD IGM”. While this may not be lyme is there a place in California, Connecticut, or Florida or ANYWHERE where I may get more specific information to start treatment?

    Thank you to all who can provide input.


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