False positive???

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Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 1830
   Posted 10/7/2011 3:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Well, I got a call from my dr. yesterday after she got the Western Blot test back and she says I don't have Lyme.  And that the antibody test was a false positive.  Should I request a retest?  So confused. And my joints are killing me.

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Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 3266
   Posted 10/7/2011 4:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi again Lamb,

Well, this is the rub. If your doctor is interpreting the Western Blot results according to the CDC standards, he or she may be disregarding a result that does indicate that you have Lyme.

The CDC itself recognizes the inaccuracy of the tests (the tests rely on reading antibodies to the disease, when the disease actually suppresses the immune system, preventing production of those very antibodies): the CDC recommends that Lyme disease be diagnosed clinically.

So your next step? Hey, no one wants you to have Lyme disease, but as you have symptoms and one positive test result, you should continue to look into this. If you get a copy of your Western blot results and post it here, we would be able to put our heads together and give you an idea of what the test actually says when not using CDC standards.

That costs you nothing. You could also go to a Lyme Literate Doctor for a proper diagnosis. They would send your tests to the lab IgeneX for more accurate testing and take your history and symptoms into account. This will cost you something approaching $1000, some of which would be re-imbursed by your insurance company.

Well we're here to help!
Co-Moderator Lyme Disease Forum

Post Edited (achievinggrace) : 10/7/2011 7:09:07 AM (GMT-6)

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Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 571
   Posted 10/7/2011 5:04 AM (GMT -7)   
It is important to look at the actual test and see which bands did come back positive/reactive.

The CDC requires that a person have 5 (positives) out of the following bands on WBlot IGG: 18, 23, 28,30, 39, 41, 45, 58, 63 and 93.

On the Wblot IGM, you must be reactive to 2 of the following bands: 23, 29 and 41.

.....perhaps you only fell short by one or two, for example, which simply means you did not meet the CDC criteria.....but that doesn't mean Lyme is NOT present.

Certain positive bands do represent strong if not actual evidence of a Lyme infection.

On what 'facts' or conjecture is your doctor basing your false postive?
Doxy, Amoxicillin, Azithromax, Mepron--now Ceftin. 11 months of treatment and counting.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 111
   Posted 10/7/2011 10:25 AM (GMT -7)   
False positive results are WAY much less common than false negatives. I've seen quite a few good peer reviewed articles showing false positives to be somewhere around 1-3% and false negatives are frequently shown to be around 30-60%.

Those numbers don't quite tell the story. The tests, even using the less accurate CDC criteria, can be reasonably effective depending on when you were infected. If you were infected very recently (1-2 weeks) or have been infected a long time (years) the incidence of false negatives skyrocket. Fasle positives are primarily affected by other bacterial/viral infections you may have been exposed to. You can also show a false positive if you ever recieved the Lymerix vaccine. The quality of the lab your sample has been sent to can throw off results in either direction.

If your doctor feels the test is a false positive then she has the burden of proof on her shoulders, considering how rare they are. She should be able to lay out a clear, concise opinion that includes ample evidence that demonstrates how the test somehow delivered inaccurate results.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 10/7/2011 7:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Posted Today 7:04 AM (GMT -6)

Cat111 said...
On the Wblot IGM, you must be reactive to 2 of the following bands: 23, 29 and 41.

Change 29 to 39
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