New Lyme disease test doubly accurate
July 4, 1997
Web posted at: 11:37 p.m. EDT (0337 GMT)
From Medical Correspondent Dan Rutz
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The earlier Lyme disease and other
tick-borne illnesses are diagnosed, the easier
they are to treat effectively -- and a new test for Lyme
disease should help.
It is believed to be about 90 percent accurate.
The current standard test for Lyme disease is not terribly
reliable. It is accurate less than half the time, and, when
someone comes forward with symptoms, doctors often must rely
"The patient comes in with fever, a history of tick exposure
and a rash," says Dr. Steven Goldfarb of Southampton Regional
Hospital in New York. "The object is to pick a treatment that
you think covers the most bases."
"The outcome may be unnecessary treatment," says Dr. Stephen
Sigler, also of Southampton, on the eastern tip of Long
Island that is ground zero for Lyme disease. "Antibiotics are
given for weeks and weeks on the basis of a positive,
nonspecific, unreliable test."
For one of Goldfarb's recent patients, using the newer test
meant that Lyme disease could be ruled out early, leading to
the diagnosis of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, another
Goldfarb said that a more accurate diagnosis put the woman in
good stead, because the initial treatment for Lyme disease --
a penicillin derivative -- wouldn't have treated her
different, more serious affliction.
Related sites:Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.