Key Seasonal Issue – Lyme disease & the impact of COVID-19

19 May 2020

May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, a chance for Lyme patients, activists and educators to spread information on the spread of Lyme disease and how to prevent Lyme and tick-borne diseases.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is an infectious disease primarily caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex, which consists of several species. The most commonly found in the UK are Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia afzelii, and Borrelia garinii. This group of bacteria are spirochetes that enter the blood stream and establish themselves in human tissue. Lyme disease is transmitted to humans from the bite of an infected tick.

In the UK Lyme disease is usually seasonal and tends to occur more commonly in the south of England and the Scottish Highlands. However, with the recent ‘Covid-19 Lockdown’ causing local authority cutbacks with regards to park maintenance and the bout of warm weather we have had, we are potentially being exposed to a breeding ground for ticks and a sharp increase of Lyme disease.


Detecting Lyme disease?

The Sofia 2 Lyme FIA tests detect Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia afzelii, and Borrelia garinii, which are prevalent in the UK

It uses advanced immunofluorescence-based lateral-flow technology to provide rapid differential detection of human IgM and IgG antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi from serum and plasma specimens from patients suspected of B. burgdorferi infection.

Sofia Lyme FIA with the Sofia 2 or Sofia analyser provide automated and objective results in 10 minutes allowing Lyme testing to be performed in near-patient testing environments.

Symptoms of Lyme disease

The most recognisable symptom of early Lyme disease is the erythema migrans rash, or “bulls-eye” rash, at the site of the tick bite.  However, EM is not always present or visible and the other symptoms of early Lyme tend to be more generic – flu-like symptoms of fever, chills, headache, fatigue, and body aches.

In later Lyme, those generic symptoms become more severe with neurological, rheumatological, and cardiovascular impacts: pain becomes more severe, patients can experience swelling and stiffness in their joints, facial palsy, irregular heartbeat, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, dizziness, shortness of breath, and problems with short-term memory. EM rashes may also appear on other parts of the body besides the site of the tick bite.

Neuroborreliosis—a central nervous system disorder—is the main complication, of Lyme disease, seen in about 10% of cases. Acute neuroborreliosis can present with facial palsy, lymphocytic meningitis and radiculoneuritis.

Late neuroborreliosis usually presents as an encephalomyelitis and can resemble multiple sclerosis. Lyme arthritis usually affects a large joint, most commonly the knee. All are caused by active infection which will respond to antibiotic therapy, but recovery may be incomplete depending on the degree of underlying tissue damage prior to treatment.

Why choose the Sofia 2 Lyme FIA rapid tests?

  • Results in just 3 to 10 minutes
  • Room temperature storage with 18 months shelf life
  • Small sample size from serum or plasma samples
  • High sensitivity and specificity with differentiated positive/negative results for lgG and lgM
  • Excellent performance compared to Western Blot
  • Automated, objective result with print capability and LlS connectivity
  • Aids in reporting QC, Calibration, results to Public Health & POC managers etc.
  • Maintenance free with other test options available on the platform if required

NG Biotech CARBA 5
Because there's more to public health than COVID-19...

"We love the ease and accuracy of the NG CARBA-5 lateral flow test. It has decreased our turnaround times and means we no longer need the reference laboratory to confirm our presumptive CPO results." - Holly Ciesielczuk, Senior Clinical Scientist at Barts Health NHS Trust

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