Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lyme Disease Can Be Reliably Diagnosed by DNA Sequencing

This is potentially exciting, though apparently here is no change on validated tests for Bb on the CDC website.  They still want only the two-tier (ELISA and Western Blot) testing system. This press release seems to apply only to  B. miyamotoi strain of the Lyme spirochete, not Borrelia bergdorferi. -Bob

Press Release
Lyme Disease Bacteria and Borrelia Miyamotoi Can Be Reliably Diagnosed by DNA Sequencing, Milford Hospital Pathologist Announced 

Media Contact:
For Milford Medical Laboratory-affiliated with Milford Hospital
Kevin Moore

January 15, 2014

MILFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The nation's first reliable DNA test for Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia miyamotoi, the spirochetes causing Lyme disease and a Lyme disease-like infection in the U.S. is now also available nationwide, according to Sin Hang Lee, MD, a Milford Hospital pathologist and the director of Milford Medical Laboratory (MML)

There are 300,000 newly diagnosed cases of Lyme disease each year, "many of whom can be helped earlier if they were correctly diagnosed to begin appropriate medical treatment," said Dr. Lee.

The new test is based on the technology described in two published peer-reviewed articles [ and ] by analyzing a target segment of the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene with Sanger DNA sequencing, the gold standard of all DNA tests, for the final diagnosis, said Dr. Lee.

Currently, "Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods," advised the CDC in its guideline for Lyme disease

As to Borrelia miyamotoi infections, the CDC advised the "Diagnosis currently relies on the use of tests to detect DNA of the organism. Blood tests for Lyme disease are unlikely to be helpful in diagnosis of B. miyamotoi infections."

"MML is offering the highly sensitive and reliable DNA test for both of the pathogenic spirochetes at $150 for a sample of blood, joint fluid or spinal fluid, when ordered by a physician. Since many residents in disease-endemic areas also want to know if the ticks removed from their skin bites are infected with Borrelia burgdorferi or Borrelia miyamotoi, MML is offering a service of testing ticks at the cost of $75 per tick with the same technology," said Dr. Lee.


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