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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » What can cause a false positive IgM lyme test?

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Author Topic: What can cause a false positive IgM lyme test?
nybasketball212
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I've had many lyme tests done- all of them negative by IgM and IGG except one test that came back positive only by IgM bands 41 and 23. I am aware that lyme testing is very inaccurate. Could this be a false positive? And what can cause a false positive IgM lyme test?
Posts: 306 | From NY | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pinelady
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I don't believe in a false pos. If you have any bands it should be pursued further.

While you may have bands that are significant for Borrelia it is still a clinical diagnosis without a christmas tree lit up on WB test.

IMO if symptomatic treat- and then retest if you are not confident, after going off all meds for at least 10 days with a specialty lab like Igenex.

--------------------
Suspected Lyme 07 Test neg One band migrating in IgG region
unable to identify.Igenex Jan.09IFA titer 1:40 IND
IgM neg pos
31 +++ 34 IND 39 IND 41 IND 83-93 +
DX:Neuroborreliosis

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Lymetoo
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Nothing.

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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TF
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Take a look at this post that is a lyme doctor explaining the Western Blot test.

http://flash.lymenet.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/1/42077

The doctor says that in the real world, there are not false positives. In the real world, there are lots and lots of false negatives.

In other words, if you have symptoms of lyme (which you must have had to be tested for it) and you got some positive bands, it means that your body made some antibodies to the lyme bacteria and that means that you have lyme disease.

Lyme testing is very inaccurate in that many people with lyme disease test NEGATIVE for lyme. Not the other way around. It just doesn't happen.

Here is a lyme video that was taken from a Boston TV station news broadcast done about 2 years ago. Notice how many people said they tested negative for lyme only to find out years later that they actually DID have lyme disease.

http://www.kettmann.com/Lyme/Save/

Then, click on "Here"

You will learn a lot about the medical controversy surrounding lyme disease by viewing this video.

I suggest you get to a doctor who is recommended by your local lyme support groups (see Support Groups on left side of page) and be treated for lyme disease.

Don't miss the chance to get this disease now before it causes you more problems. That's what happened to the folks on the video. That is sad when that happens. You will be very angry down the road if that happens to you.

Don't believe the "false positive" talk that non-lyme literate doctors give to patients. That causes endless suffering as the patient inaccurately rules out lyme disease and continues looking for a cause of their ills.

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onbam
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Another spirochete, for which you'll need exactly the same treatment. will pm.
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METALLlC BLUE
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quote:
Originally posted by nybasketball212:
What can cause a false positive IgM lyme test?

An incompetent healthcare provider.

--------------------
I am not a physician, so do your own research to confirm any ideas given and then speak with a health care provider you trust.

E-mail: [email protected]

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Hoosiers51
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There is at least one study suggesting some viruses could cause a false positive for both 41 and 23. I read that study in a post on this site, by a member named Timaca. You'd have to look for it. I am not sure if it was just a small study, if it could have been flawed (very possible), etc.

However, I am not sure if that was IgM or IgG.

Also, there are questions that come up with that "false positive" notion.....could the people with bands 41 and 23, and testing positive for viruses, have also had Lyme? It's a complicated issue.

In my mind, having both of those bands, on the IgM, makes Lyme more likely than not likely. It is CDC positive. 41 is not as Lyme specific, and some Lyme literate doctors will tell you that's a common band in the general population. Personally, I don't think 41 alone is much to go on, if you are looking for laboratory evidence of Lyme.

23 is more complicated. Sometimes it is suggested that it is Lyme specific. In general, it's pretty strong evidence for Lyme, at the least!

A lot of this would depend upon the lab. If you were to use a lab that checked for more bands on the IgM, and you had other bands like 18, 93, etc come back positive (the lab you used probably doesn't report those bands on the IgM).....the more bands you have, the less liklihood you have a false positive (if such a thing exists).

I can remember reading one of your other posts, and it sounded like Lyme to me. It is hard to know for sure.

There was this bar graph that had statistics for each band....on Lyme population vs. non-Lyme population (what percentage of each group tested positive for each band). For band 41, it was kind of silly, with 40% of the healthy population testing positive, and like 70% of people with confirmed Lyme testing positive.

But for band 23, it was much more specific....I will try to find that data for you and come back with it.

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Hoosiers51
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http://www.lymeinducedautism.com/images/Lymewhat_is_it_part_3,_LIA.pdf

A very good presentation. See slide 78 for the bar graph. The talk of Western Blots begins on slide 75. As you can see, on slide 78, about 40% of people with known Lyme tested positive for band 23, while basically 0% of the normal controls tested positive. That means it is basically as Lyme-specific as you can get, in that study.

So that leads one to believe that anything suggesting 23 can test positive because of a virus, may or may not be dependable information.

Anyways, to put it bluntly, looks like Lyme, though no one can ever tell you 100%, unless you had a PCR come back positive, which is difficult to do, because Lyme is hard to find in the body.

If I were you, I'd definitely treat, and be patient with it. Look for coinfections too.

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Marrit
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If you tested with IGeneX, they specifically state that some viruses or bacteria can cross-react and cause a positive IgM test. Hepatitis, Syphillis, some Herpes including EBV, etc.
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Pinelady
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We want them to change their ideal thinking we must also...

Knowing what we know now---cross react does NOT mean you are negative...

--------------------
Suspected Lyme 07 Test neg One band migrating in IgG region
unable to identify.Igenex Jan.09IFA titer 1:40 IND
IgM neg pos
31 +++ 34 IND 39 IND 41 IND 83-93 +
DX:Neuroborreliosis

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Lymetoo
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quote:
Originally posted by ChuckG:
http://jcm.asm.org/cgi/content/abstract/30/2/370

Here is the text:

Serodiagnosis of Lyme borreliosis by western immunoblot: reactivity of various significant antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi.
B Ma, B Christen, D Leung and C Vigo-Pelfrey

Whittaker Bioproducts, Inc., Walkersville, Maryland 21793-0127.

ABSTRACT

The significance of various antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi was studied by Western blot (immunoblot) by using 578 human serum samples. The proteins regularly detected by using samples from patients with Lyme borreliosis were those with bands with molecular masses of 94, 83, 75, 66, 60, 55, 46, 41, 39, 34, 31, 29, 22, and 17 kDa. The detectable frequencies of most of these proteins appeared to be significantly different between the sera from patients with Lyme borreliosis and those from normal control individuals as well as from the group with syphilis. The 39-kDa protein band recognized by polyvalent antibody was found to be the most significant marker for Lyme borreliosis. Furthermore, an anti-39-kDa immunoglobulin M response was detected in the samples from patients with early-stage Lyme borreliosis. Results from the use of monoclonal antibodies and patient sera revealed that the 39- and 41-kDa proteins may be structurally related but are immunologically distinct antigens. The significance of antibody reactivities to the 41-, 94-, 22-, 31-, and 34-kDa protein bands is also discussed.

J Clin Microbiol. 1992 February; 30(2): 370-376

++++++++++++++++++

Chuck said:

From memory false positives have been seen for 23-25, 31, 34, 39, 41 and 83/94/100.

I would find it hard to believe that band 83-93 (the DNA of the Bb) would be falsely positive.
Have my doubts about the other bands too... unless the info came from the IDSA camp.

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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lou
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My first WB came back with 4 of the 5 bands needed to be CDC positive. One of those was 41. Another was 93. My next WB came back positive only for band 41. I have a known tickbite and babesia Dx from two different labs by two different methods. And many lyme symptoms. So, I am pretty sure my 41 by itself means something related to lyme. It is not a cross reaction in my case.
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METALLlC BLUE
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You could have every single band on the western blot, and still be told it's a false positive by half the doctors in this country.

--------------------
I am not a physician, so do your own research to confirm any ideas given and then speak with a health care provider you trust.

E-mail: [email protected]

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billclo
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My Lyme doc, who has been doing alot of work with Bartonella, has been saying that he thinks that Bartonella can cause some cases of false-positive Lyme tests by provoking production of antibodies that are very similar to what the standard Lyme tests look for.

He also believes that some of the people who test positive on the regular Lyme tests who don't respond to proper long term treatment MAY have Bartonella instead. Complicating this is that the antibiotics that work on Lyme can suppress the Bartonella for a time, and then it flares up when the abx are stopped.

I, for example, still have a positive Lyme test, despite having been treated for 9+ months of Cefzil and Tindamax. But I also have Bartonella.

He's going to try the C6 Peptide test next to see if it can help us decide what exactly is going on.

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Lymetoo
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quote:
Originally posted by METALLlC BLUE:
You could have every single band on the western blot, and still be told it's a false positive by half the doctors in this country.

True

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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