By using the published incidence of
Lyme borreliosis in endemic regions of the World, and the sensitivity and specificity data of the best
Lyme serological tests, we computed the positive predictive value of Borrelia burgdorferi antibody testing.
The calculation of predictive value was based on Bayes’ theorem. We also analyzed the frequency distribution of the specific and non-specific symptoms and complaints of 27,194 patients sent to the Centre for Tick-borne Diseases in Budapest from 1986 to 2008.
This evaluation demonstrated that practitioners often use
Lyme serology in a "trial and error" way, without any reasonable ground. According to our calculation the positive predictive value of the best
Lyme antibody tests if applied in this way is <9.1%.
Our study suggests that the present practice of applying
Lyme serological tests may result in more harm than benefit.