Canadian Agency Reports False Positive Lyme Results in US Labs

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
A positive test result that relies solely on Western blot testing is most likely a false-positive.
Canadians with nonspecific symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue and mental fog may turn to commercial US laboratories because they suspect they may have Lyme disease. Many of these laboratories use only a single test that relies on nonevidence-based interpretation, such as the Western blot test. A positive test result that relies solely on Western blot testing is most likely a false-positive.

Recent research has found false-positive results in people without Lyme disease at 3 of 4 commercial US laboratories (ranging from 2.5% to 25%), with a rate of more than 50% of false positives at one lab.

Tests at the National Microbiology Laboratory of Canada, which uses guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are as sensitive as those used in speciality US laboratories.

"Patients and physicians should be cautious in choosing a referral laboratory in the US when seeking 'second opinion' serology after receiving a negative test result in Canada," write the authors. "Laboratories that use the standard CDC two-tier testing algorithms should be preferred over those that report results based on unproven, unvalidated, in-house criteria."

Patients who are experiencing Lyme disease-like symptoms should receive a complete evaluation to determine the cause of their symptoms.
 

JennyJenny

Well-Known Member
A positive test result that relies solely on Western blot testing is most likely a false-positive.
Lyme tests are wonky at best. I remember reading "somewhere" that overall there is a time period to take the test and it isn't long after the bite; you have a window of a few weeks. They say that it should be a test that is just run when a person is sick for no apparent reason with certain symptoms and that when a dog comes in sick to a vet the vet just runs the test. Obviously with a dog it is almost a given that it could be a tick bite but they said the test is cheap enough to do.

Anyway, I have no idea where I read that.

And I don't trust the LLMD's that are said to be able to read the tests properly. pffft.
 
Lyme tests are wonky at best. I remember reading "somewhere" that overall there is a time period to take the test and it isn't long after the bite; you have a window of a few weeks. They say that it should be a test that is just run when a person is sick for no apparent reason with certain symptoms and that when a dog comes in sick to a vet the vet just runs the test. Obviously with a dog it is almost a given that it could be a tick bite but they said the test is cheap enough to do.

Anyway, I have no idea where I read that.

And I don't trust the LLMD's that are said to be able to read the tests properly. pffft.
Does anyone know if Igenix testing for Lyme disease
uses the preferred standard CDC two-tier testing algorithm ?
Or Is Igenix a lab referenced in the article above whose in house criteria "results are based on unproven, unvalidated, in-house criteria."
It seems the latter from my experience after trying to convince 4 doctors and a P.A that Igenix and the county told me I was positive for lyme.
And does anyone know why most llmd s ( who are md s) don't take insurance?
 

JennyJenny

Well-Known Member
And does anyone know why most llmd s ( who are md s) don't take insurance?
Insurance companies can choose what doctors they will pay for. At this time, anyone practicing as an LLMD is seen as a quack and off the beaten path. I am not sure about LLMD's myself, I lean towards them being snake oil salesmen.

The CDC and medical system overall does not accept the Igenix criteria. I have only heard that information from others so I have no article to reference and I think if you need more information you would actually have to get to a Lyme forum and ask them. Sorry, I don't have a lot of information beyond what I have gleaned from those who believe in LLMD's and Igenex.
 

Snookum96

Active Member
In Canada the process is (or is supposed to be) to test ELISA and Western Blot (the Western Blot is Borrelia burgdorferi strain B31 based only).
I asked my GP for a Lyme test and she didn't know how to order it so she said I could wait until I got into the Environmental Health Clinic at Women's College, I'm currently in month 6 of an 8-13 month wait.

The Canadian Western Blot only tests one strain, from what I understand people go to the US to a lab that tests more than one strain, or Igenix because they are the only one to use a human-derived strain.

CanLyme is a Canadian Charity and the suggest that ELISA is not sensitive enough to accurately test and they think that Western Blot is the most reliable test.

"Patients who are experiencing Lyme disease-like symptoms should receive a complete evaluation to determine the cause of their symptoms."

This is a really stupid statement. We wait forever to be told it's depression causing our symptoms and then are prescribed exercise. And although my symptoms closely resemble Lyme not a single doctor of the 25 or so I've seen has suggested testing for it.

P.S. I think I may be having another angry day so please excuse my bitterness.
 

Lissa

Well-Known Member
My own 2 cents.... I already had ME/CFS, was tested multiple times (allopathically) for Lyme and never came up positive. Then in 2014 I was bitten by a deer fly on my back. A week later I came down with Acute Lyme - with a 7" bulls eye rash surrounding the bite, with a blackened, necrotic center. (Yes, I have pictures!)

I wound up in the ER with a high fever, ungodly pains everywhere, and wonky liver #'s. I could barely stand upright or walk. A whole 'nother level of fun times!! That experience alone makes me think that Me/CFS and Lyme are not the same animal. Antibiotics resolved the Lyme symptoms, and I was back to having "just ME/CFS".

That said, I would also add that during that entire episode of very concrete, Acute Lyme, I never ONCE tested positive using the standard approved allopathic tests. And they tested several times and at several intervals based on their theories of when it will show up. What does that say?! How can we trust the testing at all?!

In hindsight it would have been interesting to use a LL lab... Just to compare results.
 

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