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Lyme disease can be confirmed in the laboratory by isolation or detection of its causative agent, a tick-borne spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, or by a diagnostic change in the titre of antibodies specific to the agent. B burgdorferi can be isolated and cultivated in Barbour-Stoenner-Kelly II medium. It can be detected by light microscopy in tissue sections or, rarely, in blood smears using various staining methods. There is interest in the development of alternative detection methods, including identification of specific antigens of B burgdorferi in the urine of suspected cases and demonstration of the presence of species-specific DNA using polymerase chain reaction assays. Currently, serological tests (indirect immunofluorescence assay, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western immunoblot) are the most practical and available methods for confirming
Lyme disease. The quest to improve the specificity and sensitivity of serological tests – for example, through the use of specific recombinant antigens – continues.