Lonnie Marcum Oct 11, 2018
Why Lyme disease is so difficult to diagnose
- The majority of people do not realize they were bitten by a tick, and do not see the “bull’s-eye” rash that is typical of Lyme;
- It takes 2-8 weeks (or longer) for the immune system to produce the markers (antibodies) necessary for detection on standard blood testing,
- The bacteria can form biofilms and prefer to live in deep tissues rather than the blood stream where blood tests are most effective at detecting antibodies;
- Borrelia have special mechanisms called “sleeper cells” that allow them to hide from the immune system, thus further suppressing the production of antibodies;
- Patients with co-infections often have suppressed immune systems and many never develop antibodies to Borrelia.
- Seronegativity could also be due to antibody being bound in immune complexs and therefore not available for binding to antigens on the immunoblot strip.
- The patient may be infected with a strain of Borrelia that is not detected by standard tests.
Adding to the difficulty of diagnosis, Lyme disease is known as a “great imitator,” because it can infect every system of the body causing a myriad of symptoms that mimic illness such as Arthritis, ALS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).