Inaccurate Lyme Test Kits

test kitRegarding Laura Landro’s article on “The Biggest Mistakes Doctors Make”, one major cause for misdiagnosis was absent: inaccurate diagnostic tests. This is especially true for Lyme Test Kits. It explains in part why the CDC admitted errors in under-reporting cases through the decades, often by as much as a factor of ten.

Few doctors even know that standard Lyme test kits in the U.S. are designed to identify just one of 100+ strains of bacteria that cause Lyme disease. What about the other strains? At least 38 strains are problematic and some pathogenic strains cause severe problems in the central nervous system. Other pathogens can cause connective tissue damage in the joints. But still none of these bacteria are not being tested for.

Missed Diagnosis

missed diagnosisMs. Landro cites one study that specifies 36% missed diagnoses in 190 primary care cases. For physicians that may decide to rely on a blood test, at least 44% of the patients are not diagnosed. An even smaller subset of these physicians test for co-infections. Co-infections are often carried by ticks in the form of other bacteria, viruses and parasites.

The tentacles of undiagnosed diseases reach far and deep into our specialized medical system.  Poor diagnostic criteria cost this country billions of dollars and and untold human suffering each year. Let’s get smarter about basic diagnostics and even biology 101!

Scientific Review of Testing

A review by Stricker and Johnson (2007) of North American case-control studies of commercial two-tier Lyme testing reached the following conclusion: “The two tier testing system endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a high specificity (99%) and yields few false positives. But the tests have a uniformly miserable sensitivity (56%)—they miss 88 of every 200 patients with Lyme disease (table).” An updated analysis including more recent studies found that the sensitivity of the two-tier test system was even worse (46%). This sensitivity is far below the 95% cutoff required for an accurate diagnostic test, and much worse than the 99.5% sensitivity of commercial HIV testing.

See more of my research with doctors and researchers on my HD channel, where I share condensed interviews in the area of biofilms, chronic disease and of course wellness:

I submitted this piece to the the editors for an Op Ed piece in the WSJ. The issue of inaccurate Lyme test kits is so important, but somehow still too hot to mention in the Journal. How sad, since it affects TENS of millions of people in this country; and far more globally.