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The aim of this study was to evaluate the synthetic C6 peptide test as a first-line test in a two-tiered scheme for Borrelia serology in a clinically well-characterized population of patients with
Lyme borreliosis in Kalmar County, Sweden. The study population consisted of a prospective group (n = 200), a control group (n = 255), and a retrospective group (n = 29). The test panel consisted of the Immunetics Quick ELISA C6 Borrelia assay kit (Immunetics, Cambridge, MA, USA), the Virotech Borrelia burgdorferi ELISA (Genzyme Virotech, Rüsselsheim, Germany), and the Liaison Borrelia CLIA (DiaSorin, Saluggia, Vercelli, Italy). Seroprevalence among 200 healthy blood donors was significantly lower in the C6 test (8%) compared to the Virotech ELISA (14%) and the Liaison CLIA (12%). In convalescent sera (2-3 months and 6 months post infection) from 158 patients with erythema migrans, the seropositivity in the C6 test was also significantly lower compared to both the Virotech ELISA and the Liaison CLIA. Serosensitivity in the acute phase of erythema migrans and other clinical manifestations of borreliosis did not differ significantly between the C6 test and the Virotech ELISA or the Liaison CLIA. Overall, a positive C6 test seems to correlate well with acute borreliosis. Cross-reactivity was lower in the C6 test in sera positive for Epstein-Barr virus infection as compared to the Virotech ELISA. This study supports the use of the C6 test as a screening test for borreliosis, in endemic areas.