Can We Trust Blood Tests
to Diagnose Lyme Disease?
By Dr. Donald Liebell
The short answer to this question is NO.
It appears that medically accepted blood tests for Lyme are only useful if they're positive.
Sounds odd, doesn't it?
But is the harsh reality. If Lyme blood tests come up negative, the result is essentially useless. The medically accepted Lyme blood tests cannot be trusted.
A 2005 Johns Hopkins research study revealed that the conventionally endorsed testing procedure for Lyme disease misses a whopping 75% of positive Lyme cases! Various ongoing investigations continue to confirm that it is not acceptable to solely rely on blood tests.
Therefore, if a doctor tells you that Lyme disease has been ruled out by a Western Blot or other Lyme blood test... you are not getting the full story.
It is heartbreaking for me to see patient and patient, who were told by another doctor (sometimes decades prior!) that Lyme was "ruled out" by blood tests... so they suffered needlessly, being diagnosed with one different condition after another... taking one drug after another.
Lyme Diagnosis : No Rash = No Proof
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH),
there’s actually only one way to be 100% certain of a correct
diagnosis—the only sign or symptom unique to Lyme disease:
the “bull’s eye” rash that sometimes follows an infectious tick bite.
It can show up between 3 and 30 days afterwards. The rash
usually lasts between 3 and 5 weeks. Immediate antibiotic
treatment upon noticing it might prevent a lifetime of needless suffering.
You do NOT need a blood test if you had the rash, since it is the cardinal sign of Lyme disease. Both the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health urge doctors to diagnose Lyme based on a combination of detailed medical history (including past knowledge of tick bites) and physical exam.
“Valid laboratory tests can be very helpful but are not generally recommended
when a patient has Erythema migrans [bull’s eye rash]" - The Centers for Disease Control
The problem is that legions of sufferers of chronic pain and illness do not recall a tick bite and/or the characteristic rash. The infected ticks are tiny and easy to miss— about the size of a poppy seed. Plus their bite is usually painless! What sickens me is how frequently patients tell me they went to another doctor years in the past, presenting with a tick bite and a rash… but were NOT given a prescription for antibiotics, and they were told not to worry about it!
This is medical irresponsibility, which can result in a lifetime of suffering and illness. Doctors prescribe antibiotics with reckless abandon for every cough, cold, earache, sinus drip and fever—for ailments that are most likely viral in origin…“just in case.” But NOT for suspected Lyme disease.
This is profoundly disturbing. And in my opinion, it’s heinous malpractice.
If you remember (at any time in your life) getting a tick bite and/or seeing a rash similar to the one pictured above... you should seek care with a doctor experienced in helping Lyme patients.
Ignorance is NOT bliss; Ignorance is DISEASE
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest up to 12 times more cases of Lyme exist than are actually reported. I think it is WAY more common, since the medically established blood tests are often falsely negative. The diagnostic criteria are very firm. One must have enough positive “bands” to be diagnosed with Lyme. Imagine how many people have Lyme disease, but don't know it... thus it's never reported.
How can tests this dreadful become medicine’s gold standard” for diagnosis?
The tests were designed primarily for statistics rather than diagnosis, and have not been improved. I often wonder when I see Western Blot results revealing only 2 positive Borrelia bands… does this poor soul only have a little bit of Lyme?
Do pregnancy tests come up as “partially pregnant?”
The great news is that with my whole-body, patient-centered treatment approach—it doesn’t matter one bit whether or not you are “officially” diagnosed with Lyme! The secret is to treat the BODY to strengthen its ability to fight disease itself.
The findings of Virginia's Lyme Task Force appointed by past Governor Bob McDonnell suggest that NO blood test is capable of ruling out Lyme disease! It is now law in Virginia that doctors must inform patients that negative blood tests do NOT rule out Lyme disease.
Diagnosis of chronic Lyme is a matter of a doctor's opinion when there has been no bull's eye rash, nor a positive blood test. There are several laboratories that perform Lyme blood tests. LabCorp and IGenex are the most commonly used. Although I will inform and refer patients for blood tests (if they want them), their results have no bearing on my methods of treatment. Most patients I treat have failed to get well through treatment from other professionals, having been prescribed long-term antibiotics (both with and without positive blood tests).
I treat the PERSON... NOT the blood test.
I treat the PERSON... NOT the Lyme disease.
I treat the patient's COMPREHENSIVE Health Needs... NOT the Lyme disease.
Therefore, in my practice's world of Lyme disease, the blood results are not really relevant. If you are suffering symptoms that can be associated with Lyme disease, your BODY can be treated... your immune system can be bolstered. Traditional Western medicine (conventional American medicine) is a DISEASE-based health care system. I am among the minority of doctors who practice WELLNESS-based health care.
The Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines state that doctors should diagnose Lyme disease based on case history symptoms, objective physical findings (such as bull’s eye rash, facial palsy, or arthritis), and a history of possible exposure to infected ticks. This is precisely how I evaluate my patients. My case history is lengthy, detailed, and specific.
Fortunately, the means by which I treat my patients have no bearing on an "official" diagnosis of Lyme anyway. In my practice, there is NO "Lyme controversy." There's no worries of utilizing dangerous long term drugs, side effects or unregulated supplements.
How Do I Determine the Appropriate Treatment for Each Patient?
Comprehensive medical history and Auricular Bio-energetic Testing (ABT) are what dictates each patient’s treatment. Although popular and successful in Europe, I am among 2 or 3 other doctors in the United States correctly utilizing it. Many people seek my care after they’ve long had a medical diagnosis of Lyme... or if they've been diagnosed and treated for everything BUT Lyme!
ABT is used as a means of choosing the most likely effective homeopathic bio-energetic support products, and ear acupuncture for each patient. It is also used to support nutritional advice. It is NOT in any manner considered medically diagnostic. All findings are ENERGETIC, not physical. My evaluation’s purpose is to figure out what to do to improve your health. It is a "tool" to customize treatment, rather than giving each person the same thing.
Staying Clear from the Controversy—and Getting People Healthy
I’m “Swiss” when it comes to “Lyme wars.” The politicians, legal authorities, insurance companies, medical boards, pharmaceutical companies, and "Lyme Literate Medical Doctors" can fight their hostile uphill battles. Their polarized disagreements are preventing people from a chance at health and happiness. They clearly aren't interested in looking into what I am doing for people who suffer chronic Lyme disease and related illness.
Traditional or "conventional" medical doctors mostly mock the principles and practices of homeopathic medicine and acupuncture. After all, the American Medical Association was formed largely to eradicate the safe, effective, and inexpensive practice of homeopathy! All kinds of acupuncture methods have been safe and effective for thousands of years... yet "traditional" doctors call it "alternative."
What an embarrassment.
By practicing antibiotic-free methods that are not dependent upon direct diagnosis or treatment of Lyme disease (co-infections and other related symptoms), I stand clear of the controversy—while providing outstanding outcomes. And I pity those suffering the chronic effects of Lyme disease, who choose to continue suffering - putting their faith in the "authorities" in conventional medicine, waiting for them to give the "thumbs up" to wellness-based care.
I suggest you beware the blood tests... they don't seem to be reliable to diagnose you, and they are equally unreliable to measure progress! If you're suffering a host of chronic symptoms that cannot be explained by medical testing, chronic Lyme is a legitimate possibility... but it is likely only a single component of your health picture, which is way more complicated.
Dr. Donald Liebell
D.C., B.C.A.O., B.A.
Licensed by the
of Medicine Since 1993
The Liebell Clinic: Chronic Pain & Wellness Solutions
Donald K. Liebell, D.C., B.C.A.O
477 Viking Drive Suite 170 Virginia Beach VA 23452
8:30AM - 6:30PM M,W,F, (and by Special Appointment)
No Antibiotics... No Drugs... No Side Effects...
No Controversy... No Politics...
Just Help for People From Coast-to-Coast, Who Suffer the Chronic Effects
of Lyme Disease & Other Tick-Triggered Illness (After All Else Has Failed)
Copyright 2014-2018© Dr. Donald Liebell. All rights reserved.
The information and statements contained in this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The contents of this website are for informational purposes only are is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Your reliance on any information provided by Dr. Liebell’s website, any referenced parties is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice or treatment, because of information contained in this website. This website expresses Dr. Liebell's health care views, and describes wellness-based, natural treatment methods, and must not be misconstrued as direct treatment advice—it is information only. Dr. Liebell does NOT treat infectious disease, nor does he claim to have a cure for "post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome" or chronic Lyme disease; he provides natural, drug-free, wellness-promoting treatments from which patients have cited recovery.