Lyme Disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) Antibodies (ELISA) Blood Test, from our experts to you.
Dr Sam Rodgers MBBS, MRCGP

Chief Medical Officer meet our doctors

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What is
Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi (and rarely other strains, such as Borrelia mayonii), which is transmitted through infected tick bites. These ticks are about the size of a pin head and are found in woodland and around heathland. If you have been bitten by a tick, you may be at risk of Lyme disease.

Not all ticks in the UK carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Even if you’re bitten by an infected tick, it’s unlikely you’ll get Lyme disease if it’s promptly removed.

What can I learn from
a Lyme disease test?

This test detects antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi, the most common bacterium causing Lyme disease. Results are most accurate when the test is taken a few weeks after exposure to the tick, and ideally, after six weeks, as it takes time for the body to produce antibodies. However, it’s important to see your doctor before this if you think you’ve been infected.

False-negative results (a normal result despite the presence of infection) do occur and are more likely if you take the test too early. So, even if your result is negative, there is a chance you may still be infected.

A positive result most likely means you have or have had Lyme disease. If you receive a positive result, we usually recommend seeing your GP for a confirmatory immunoblot test. False-positive results may occur if you have glandular fever, rheumatoid arthritis, or another autoimmune condition. 

What are the signs and
symptoms of Lyme disease?

A circular or oval-shaped rash around a tick bite can be an early sign of Lyme disease in some people. This rash may look like a bullseye on a dartboard. If you have a rash like this, you should see your GP. 

You may also get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after being bitten, such as headaches, a high temperature, muscle and joint pain, tiredness, and loss of energy. 

Some people with Lyme disease may develop more severe, chronic symptoms over time, like heart problems, and trouble with memory and concentration. But this is more likely if treatment is delayed. 

Lyme disease can be hard to diagnose as it has similar symptoms to many other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia, and there’s not always an obvious rash.

of the test

A blood test is no substitute for seeing a doctor. If you believe you have or are at risk of Lyme disease, it’s important to see your GP promptly. Blood tests alone cannot diagnose Lyme disease but in some cases, they may be useful, especially if the history or symptoms are not typical.

If you have glandular fever, rheumatoid arthritis, or another autoimmune condition, our test could indicate that you have Lyme disease when you don’t (a false positive result). Positive results usually need further confirmatory tests.

You could get a negative result when you do have Lyme disease (a false negative), especially if you take this test in the early stages of the disease or if you’re immunosuppressed.

This test detects the most common bacterium causing Lyme disease. However, there are other less common strains of bacteria that this test won’t detect.

What's Included?

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Borrelia burgdorferi IgM B. burgdorferi IgM antibodies are the first antibodies to be produced by the body following an infection with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Infection occurs after being bitten by a tick infected with the bacterium and manifests itself as Lyme disease.
Borrelia burgdorferi IgG B. burgdorferi IgG are antibodies produced by the body several weeks following an infection with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Infection occurs after being bitten by a tick infected with the bacterium, and manifests itself as Lyme disease.

How to prepare
for your test?

Special Instructions

Prepare for your Lyme Disease (elisa) Blood Test Test by following these instructions. You may need to repeat this test 6 weeks following the first test. Please include details of any recent foreign travel on your form.

Frequently asked questions

When should I take a Lyme disease test?

It's best to take our Lyme disease test at least six weeks after suspected exposure. If you take the test too early, you may not have produced enough antibodies, which can lead to a false-negative result.

If you already have symptoms typical of Lyme disease, such as a bullseye rash, it's important to see your GP. You may be treated, even with a negative result.

What is the treatment for Lyme disease?

If your GP confirms you have Lyme disease, they will prescribe a course of antibiotics, which may need to be continued for up to 28 days. People with severe symptoms may be referred to a specialist in a hospital so that antibiotics can be given directly into a vein.

Can I take a test for Lyme disease at home?

Yes, you can take our finger-prick Lyme disease test at home. We’ll send you everything you need including our at-home Lyme disease test kit and a pre-paid return envelope for your sample.

How can I check for Lyme disease at home?

Our Lyme disease home test includes a full lab analysis of your blood sample and expert medical advice including any next steps.

Do all ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease?

No, not all ticks carry the bacteria. So, being bitten doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be infected, but it’s still important to be aware of the risk.

As ticks are only about the size of a pinhead, they can be very difficult to spot. You should check yourself for ticks if you’ve spent time in grassy woodland areas, and safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.

Am I at risk of Lyme disease?


As you get Lyme disease from infected tick bites, you’re at higher risk if you spend lots of time outdoors. Ticks are becoming increasingly common throughout the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands. You can reduce your chance of being bitten by using insect repellents that contain DEET and staying on clear paths where possible while out walking. 


Can Lyme disease be cured?


Most people with Lyme disease get better with a course of antibiotics. However, even after treatment, some people may continue to have symptoms for months or even years later. These can include joint pain, fatigue, or difficulty concentrating, but they usually improve over time. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent more severe symptoms and complications.