What is Lyme Disease and How to Use the Lyme Disease Rapid Test Kit?
Due to its increasing incidence and association with various long-term health conditions, Lyme disease is widely considered a growing global health concern. If left untreated, Lyme disease may have significant impacts on human and animal health. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential for the prevention of infection progression, severe disease, and long-term complications. Together with clinical evaluation, patient history, and laboratory testing, the Lyme Disease Rapid Test Kit assists medical and veterinary professionals in the early diagnosis of Lyme Disease in humans and animals. Read along to learn more about the effects of Lyme disease on human and animal health and how the Lyme Disease Rapid Test Kit is used for the detection of Lyme disease.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterial infection caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. It is a gram-negative bacteria named after its initial identification by Willy Burgdorfer in 1981. Borrelia burgdorferi is a highly adaptive bacteria that can evade the host’s immune system and persist in the host body for prolonged periods of time. In addition, it has a distinctive genome that allows it to alter its surface proteins, which reduces the ability of the host immune system to recognize and attack the infection. This enhanced ability of immune evasion is thought to contribute to the chronic and recurrent nature of Lyme disease.
Borrelia burgdorferi is transmitted to humans and various other animals through the bite of an infected black-legged tick. The spread of the bacteria is estimated to take several hours; thus, it is important to remove ticks as soon as possible following a bite. Upon infection, its lipopolysaccharide outer membrane induces an inflammatory response in the host’s body. As a result, the bacteria cause an array of symptoms such as fever, headache, myalgia, joint pain, and the distinctive erythema migrans rash. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body, such as the heart, joints, and nervous system, leading to various severe complications such as heart palpitations, meningitis, and arthritis.
The life cycle of Lyme disease develops in various stages and requires a tick vector and vertebrate hosts. In fall, female ticks lay their eggs on the ground. These eggs hatch into small larvae in the spring and feed on blood meals from small animals, whereby they contract Borrelia burgdorferi. Then, the larvae develop into the nymph stage. Nymphs are the main vector for transmitting Lyme disease to humans, as they are more likely to bite humans due to their size and activity throughout the summer months. Finally, the nymphs develop into the adult stage. At this stage, the ticks are equally capable of transmitting Lyme disease but are more likely to feed on larger animals rather than humans.
How does Lyme disease affect human health?
Early symptoms of Lyme disease in humans include joint pain/stiffness, fever, chills, fatigue, headache, myalgia, and the erythema migrans (EM) rash, which is a red, circular rash with a bull’s eye appearance that can develop at the site of the tick bite. The early symptoms of Lyme disease may be mild and easily overlooked. If left untreated, the infection can progress to the later stages of the disease, which is often characterized by more severe symptoms and long-term complications, such as heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, swelling or pain in the joints, numbness, tingling, weakness, facial paralysis, meningitis, memory loss, and blurred or double vision.
How does Lyme disease affect animal health?
Lyme disease most commonly affects dogs among all non-human animal species. Upon infection, dogs can experience similar symptoms to those observed in humans with varying severity. Common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include fever, lethargy, joint pain, lack of appetite, lameness, swollen lymph nodes, difficulty breathing, and kidney failure. However, dogs do not present with an erythema migrans (EM) rash. Although Lyme disease can also affect cats, cats are much less likely to get infected with Lyme disease, and infected cats rarely present with clinical symptoms.
How to Use the Lyme Disease Rapid Test Kit?
The Lyme Disease Rapid Test Kit is a chromatic immunoassay designed for the detection of antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi in both animals and humans. Coming in a lateral flow test format, the Lyme Disease Rapid Test Kit requires a serum, plasma, or whole blood sample. Suppose the test will not be performed with a whole blood sample; a whole blood sample can be centrifuged to obtain a serum sample or placed into a tube with anticoagulants to obtain a plasma sample. After the required sample is ready, it is applied to the sample well (S) on the test strip; then, a few drops of the buffer solution included with the test kit is added to the same well. Following an incubation period of around 15 to 20 minutes, the test results are interpreted by examining the test strip. If a colored line appears in the test line region (T), it indicates the presence of antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi. If no line appears in the test line region (T), the test is considered negative. As it functions as a procedural control, the control line (C) should always appear regardless of the presence of the test line (T).