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But I Tested Negative!

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

22 Reasons Why Lyme Tests are Challenging to Interpret

1. A recent infection has occurred and is tested before the immune cells produce Borrelia


2. Taking antibiotics before Lyme testing, which co-opted an antibody response

3. Long term antibiotic use for a concurrent illness

4. Free Borrelia antibodies were not present and detectable in blood because they bind to

Borrelia bacteria’s outer surface proteins

5. Spirochetes are protected and hiding inside a biofilm colony

6. Spirochetes were burrowed deep inside the cartilage, connective tissue, and organs

7. Only small blebs were present, not whole bacteria which are needed for PCR

8. No free spirochetes in the blood on the day of testing

9. Genetic heterogeneity- There are over 300 strains of spirochete bacteria that cause Lyme in

the US alone. The test may not detect the particular strain.

10. Antigen variability- Borrelia can change its outer surface proteins to suit its environment so

the test will detect a non-Lyme specific antibody.

11. Spirochetes are in dormancy phase (L-form) without cell walls, so the immune system has

nothing to attack

12. Borrelia surface antigens can change body temperature, thus denaturing active immune


13. Pre-existing Immune deficiency

14. Recent anti-inflammatory treatment which suppresses the immune system

15. Co-infections like Babesia will cause Immune suppression

16. Downregulation of immune system by body’s own cytokines

17. Lab errors or poor technician capability and training to detect valid results

18. Lab test is not standardized for detecting late-stage Lyme

19. Lab test approved for investigational use only

20. Lack of adequate reference values (do not use enough strains)

21. The revised Western Blot criteria fails to include correct antibody bands

22. CDC testing criteria is designed for epidemiology studies only, not clinical diagnostics

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