Can disease-free ticks be a tool for detecting Lyme infection?
A study recruiting Lyme patients at Yale and Tufts universities and the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, is testing the hypothesis that a disease-free tick allowed to feed on the blood of a human subject may pick up the Lyme bug (Borrelia burgdorferi) if the person has persistent infection, thereby providing a diagnostic test.
This kind of test – termed ‘xenodiagnosis’ – has proven diagnostic in animal studies. Subjects will include healthy controls and patients at different stages of suspected infection, from current Lyme rash to chronic Lyme.
In particular, the trial descriptions states, “Evidence that B. burgdorferi can be recovered by xenodiagnosis after antibiotic therapy in subjects with continued symptoms would change the current paradigm for potential mechanisms of disease and provide researchers and clinicians a tool for identifying patients with persistent infection.”
To read details of the study and criteria for eligibility, see the listing for ClinicalTrials.gov ID NCT01143558 – “Searching for Pesistence of Infection in Lyme Disease” (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01143558)