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June 1991

The Laboratory Diagnosis of Lyme Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Dermatology Division, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(6):866-870. doi:10.1001/archderm.1991.01680050110014

• Growing awareness of Lyme disease, caused by the tickborne spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi has led to a marked increase in laboratory procedures to help in its diagnosis. Despite the frequent ordering of serologic tests specific for Lyme disease, there remains confusion in the accurate interpretation of these tests. Because of the important cutaneous manifestations of B burgdorferi infection, dermatologists should understand the role of the laboratory in Borreliarelated conditions. This article reviews laboratory techniques available for the diagnosis of Lyme disease. The role of histologic findings and culture, the sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility of commonly used serologic tests, the effects of disease duration and treatment on serologic results, and the future of laboratory diagnosis are described.

(Arch Dermatol. 1991;127:866-870)