Send to

Choose Destination
Br J Biomed Sci. 2011;68(1):5-10.

Interpretation criteria in Western blot diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis.

Author information

National Lyme Borreliosis Testing Laboratory, Microbiology Department, Raigmore Hospital, Old Perth Road, Inverness IV2 3UJ, UK.


This study reviews the Lyme borreliosis Western blot interpretation process, including what bands are classed as specific, the number of bands needed for a positive result, the role of band intensity and the use of clinical information. In 2008, 3688 patients (4223 serum samples) were tested by enzyme immunoassay (EIA), with 832 patients tested by confirmatory in-house IgG Western blot: 272 patients were Western blot-positive, 170 were weak positive, 156 were equivocal and 234 were negative. These results were assessed, and a review of interpretation criteria from both the USA and Europe was carried out. New interpretation criteria and a testing algorithm were developed. The revised criteria changed the results in 109/3688 (3%) patients and produced significantly more Western blot-positive and weak-positive patients than with the current criteria (485 vs. 442, P < 0.0001). In total, 76 patients who were negative/equivocal became positive, which may have led to a change in their management. Conversely, 33 patients who were weak-positive became equivocal but their management may not have been affected. The authors believe that the revised criteria have simplified blot interpretation and improved the sensitivity and robustness of their Western blot method. Using a protocol tailored to patients that incorporates clinical characteristics means that the entire process will be easier and will aid the management of patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center