The Ehrlichia DNA-PCR test is designed to detect the tick-transmitted Ehrlichia/Anaplasma bacteria, which can cause fever- and flu-like symptoms. Only some Ehrlichia/Anaplasma bacteria infections are severe however; most have a harmless disease progression. The number of chronic Ehrlichia infections is still unknown.
Ehrlichia bacteria used to be grouped as Rickettsiosis, but now it is recognised as a disease pattern of its own. The bacteria type Ehrlichia can be transmitted to humans by ticks. Severe progression of the infection can also cause myalgia; liver and kidney dysfunctions; as well as meningitis.
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests:
PCR is the only practical means of directly detecting the presence of the infectious Borrelia bacteria, while other tests, such ELISA and Western blot tests, merely test for antibodies to the Borrelia organism. As such, a positive result to ELISA and Western blot tests may indicate either current or previous infection and is not necessarily proof of active infection causing Lyme disease.
PCR tests rely on detecting the genetic material (DNA) of the suspected infectious spirochaete or the antibodies to such bacteria. Where a patient has stored a removed tick for analysis it can be helpful to perform PCR testing on the tick to detect the presence of Borrelia bacteria and other possible infectious organisms.
An active Ehrlichia/Anaplasma infection, to determine the duration of therapy and to monitor treatment results after a Ehrlichia/Anaplasma therapy
Symptoms and conditions:
Additional test information:
Antibodies can be tested with the immunoblot and ELISA test. In general, the immunoblot test is more specific and more sensitive in detecting Borrelia antibodies compared to the ELISA test.
The laboratory should always test for VIsE (Variable major protein-like sequence Expressed) in the ELISA and immunoblot. VIsE describes the ability of the 'chameleon' Borrelia burgdorferi to constantly change its surface protein structure VIsE in vivo, in order to avoid being identified by the immune system. VIsE has the highest sensitivity when searching for antibodies.