How is Lyme disease diagnosed?
When diagnosing Lyme disease, health care providers will examine the patient for signs and symptoms of the condition and whether or not the patient may have been exposed to black-legged ticks. If you are seeing a doctor about Lyme disease, you should inform them whether or not you have been outdoors in an area that could put you at risk for a tick bite. If a health care provider is unable to offer a diagnosis based on these conditions, a blood test may be required.
These tests check the blood for antibodies that are produced to fight an infection. Because it may take several weeks for these antibodies to develop, a false-negative result is possible if the test occurs shortly after the tick bite. Your health care provider may ask for you to undergo a follow-up test to definitively diagnose Lyme disease.