Diagnosing Lyme Disease & other tick-borne infections
Lyme disease is a challenge to diagnose and can be even tougher to treat if not caught in the early stage so it is imperative that you get treatment quickly . Lyme disease testing is not an exact science: patients often receive negative results even when the disease is actually present.
If you suspect you've been infected with Lyme Disease, or another tick-borne illness, don't wait for symptoms to get worse before going to your doctor. Lyme Disease is most treatable in the early stages. As time passes, both treatment and diagnosis become more difficult. Symptoms worsen during each stage of infection, ranging from flu-like symptoms to neurological illnesses, including paralysis.
WHY ARE TICK-BORNE ILLNESSES HARD TO DIAGNOSE? - Lyme symptoms are similar to other illnesses, so misdiagnosis is common. - Many Canadian doctors are unfamiliar with tick-borne infections. - Only a handful of blood tests effectively detect Lyme bacteria and other tick-borne infections, so it is often missed. - There are many strains of any one tick-borne illness, with more being found as time goes on. - Current Canadian Lyme testing is designed for surveillance purposes only and was never intended as a diagnostic tool and is only supportive to a clinical diagnosis. - The Canadian two tiered test lacks sensitivity (especially in early disease), and therefore not everyone with Lyme bacterium will test positive. It is written directly on the package for the Elisa test that "Negative results (either first or second step) should not be used to exclude Lyme disease". Because of this, you need a doctor well versed in tick-borne illnesses who will keep looking despite a negative result. DIAGNOSIS IN MANITOBA In Manitoba there are three tick-borne illnesses that are reportable with Manitoba Health: Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis. Please note that ticks can transmit other infections and diseases that are not reportable as well as other parasites.
If you suspect you may have a tick-borne illness, please seek medical help immediately because the best chance of regaining your health is in the early stages. Please find some helpful links below including the Physicians letter to take in to your doctor.