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How does tick testing work?
Reported Cases of Lyme Disease in the U.S.
Detecting the DNA 'fingerprint' of a pathogen
Our tick testing panels detect the presence of human pathogens, such as those causing Lyme disease, found in ticks following tick removal. Specific DNA sequence (or 'fingerprint') of each pathogen is targeted and amplified using DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
When performed correctly, PCR-based detection provides superior sensitivity & accuracy. Positive and negative DNA controls ensure test validity.
Worldwide, ticks transmit over 20 known pathogens resulting in significant disease in humans, domestic animals, and wildlife. In North America, Lyme disease has reached epidemic proportions and is the most commonly reported vector-borne disease in the US with >300,000 cases each year. The deer tick (also called blacklegged tick or Ixodes scapularis) serves as the principal vector of the spirochete bacterium that causes Lyme disease and also transmits the causative agents of human babesiosis and human granulocytic anaplasmosis. The diagnosis of Lyme disease can be difficult due to the occurrence of non-specific “flu-like” symptoms including fatigue, nausea, fever, headaches, joint, and muscle pain. Early detection and treatment are critical. If left untreated, infection can cause chronic Lyme disease. Notably, symptoms can become more difficult to treat over time. Currently, many medical professionals rely on serology tests for diagnosis. Due to sensitivity limitations, these tests can be inaccurate and it may take several weeks for a positive result after a tick bite. After tick removal, tick testing for the presence of tick-borne pathogens provides useful information to support early treatment decisions.
*Tick testing for pathogen detection is a preventative measure against chronic Lyme disease
*Lyme can be asymptomatic or complicated by co-infections
*Misdiagnosis of Lyme disease is common
*Early detection and treatment are critical
*Clinical serology tests have been inaccurate