APR 06, 2018 4:07 AM PDT

New Diagnostic Test for Lyme Disease

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Diagnostic tests for Lyme disease, or Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB) can take up to a week, but patients affected need antibiotics as soon as possible to prevent the risk of life-long symptoms. A new test, developed thanks to Finnish company Reagena and University of Turku scientists, will speed up the process.

This photomicrograph reveals the presence of the spirochaete bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi, which is the pathogen that causes Lyme disease. Credit: CDC Public Health Image Library

LNB is spread by ticks and affects the nervous system, caused by the bacterial species Borrelia burgdorferi. It’s the most common vector-borne disease in the United States; there are 20,000 new cases reported every year. LNB infection occurs in stages.

First, after about three days of infection to up to a month after, many patients experience a target-like rash. Then comes neurologic abnormalities and cardiac involvement in some patients for several months. Musculoskeletal pain and chronic arthritis in large joints, often the knee, can last for years.

The characteristic rash doesn’t always appear, in which case someone might not know they were bit by a tick at all, let alone that they have LNB. The new diagnostic test could help affected people receive antibiotic treatment as soon as possible as well as help avoid unnecessary antibiotic use, reducing the contribution to antibiotic resistance.

Current tests for LNB include looking for infection symptoms, cerebrospinal fluid tests, and antibody production from an activated immune response. The newer test is faster and able to

target antibiotic treatment to people with a high chance of having or developing neuroborreliosis, which can reduce the risk of post-treatment symptoms related to the infection.

The new test detects LNB by measuring concentration of a cytokine called CXCL13 in cerebrospinal fluid. High CXCL13 is a clear and well-known sign of untreated neuroborreliosis. It increases faster during neuroborreliosis than antibiotic concentrations do, and it declines quickly after antibiotic treatment starts.

“We have demonstrated that this point-of-care test is extremely efficient,” explained Jukka Hytonen from the University of Turku, who developed the idea for the new test. “As a result, we suggest that the diagnostic practice for neuroborreliosis in Finland would be reorganised so that the CXCL13 concentration would be measured immediately after the lumbar puncture for cerebrospinal fluid.”

The present study was published in the journal Diagnostic Microbiology & Infectious Disease.

Sources: American Journal of Neuroradiology, University of Turku

About the Author
I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JUN 22, 2022
Technology
Alzheimer's Diagnosis With a Single MRI Scan
JUN 22, 2022
Alzheimer's Diagnosis With a Single MRI Scan
Alzheimer’s, one of the more common forms of dementia, is a condition for which there is currently no cure. Accord ...
JUL 13, 2022
Cardiology
Eating Eggs May Lower Heart Disease Risk
JUL 13, 2022
Eating Eggs May Lower Heart Disease Risk
Eating up to one egg per day may lower heart disease risk.
JUL 28, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
The benefits of lyophilization in assay kit development: Maximizing the integrity and shelf life of reagents
JUL 28, 2022
The benefits of lyophilization in assay kit development: Maximizing the integrity and shelf life of reagents
Freeze drying, lyophilization, and cryodesiccation are all terms used to describe the process of removing water from a s ...
JUL 31, 2022
Technology
Sticker Worn on the Skin Produces Continuous Ultrasound Images
JUL 31, 2022
Sticker Worn on the Skin Produces Continuous Ultrasound Images
Ultrasound technology has been a revolutionary tool used to diagnose conditions and get a better understanding of what&r ...
AUG 04, 2022
Health & Medicine
Parechovirus Infections are Increasing in Infants
AUG 04, 2022
Parechovirus Infections are Increasing in Infants
This year, 29 infants have been admitted to the Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center with human p ...
AUG 10, 2022
Health & Medicine
Newly ID'ed Langya Virus Sickens Dozens in China
AUG 10, 2022
Newly ID'ed Langya Virus Sickens Dozens in China
Zoonotic diseases, which can jump from one species to another, are not unusual. As the world's population rises and the ...
Loading Comments...