Updated: Monday, 29 Mar 2010, 6:00 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 29 Mar 2010, 5:12 PM EDT
Milford, Conn. (WTNH) - A new test will help diagnose Lyme disease earlier, leading to more effective treatment.
As warm weather approaches so does the season of ticks and Lyme disease. Infected deer ticks are the culprits.
"This is a definitive molecular diagnosis of Lyme disease," explained Dr. Sin Hang Lee, Milford Hospital.
It took a year and a half in the research lab at Milford Hospital for Dr. Lee to develop a definitive way to diagnose Lyme disease using the DNA of the Lyme bacteria.
"This is the first using DNA sequencing to confirm diagnosis of Lyme spirochete DNA," Dr. Lee said.
But the window of opportunity is short. Key to this test is when the blood is drawn. Dr. Lee says it should be done on the onset of symptoms - clear evidence the bacteria is in a patient's blood.
"Every patient is different because from the time of the tick bite to symptoms, it may take three days, it may take 30 days," he said.
The sample is amplified twice to ensure a DNA match. Dr. Lee points out if there's a positive result it leads to early treatment.
More on the test has been publishes in the latest American Journal of Clinical Pathology.