Laboratory diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis: Current state of the art and future perspectives

Benedikt Lohr, Volker Fingerle, Douglas E. Norris, Klaus Peter Hunfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This review is directed at physicians and laboratory personnel in private practice and clinics who treat and diagnose Lyme borreliosis (LB) in patients as part of their daily work. A major objective of this paper is to bring together background information on Borrelia (B.) burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) and basic clinical knowledge of LB, which is one of the most frequently reported vector-borne diseases in the Northern Hemisphere. The goal is to provide practical guidance for clinicians and for laboratory physicians, and scientists for a better understanding of current achievements and ongoing obstacles in the laboratory diagnosis of LB, an infectious disease that still remains one of the diagnostic chameleons of modern clinical medicine. Moreover, in bringing together current scientific information from guidelines, reviews, and original papers, this review provides recommendations for selecting the appropriate tests in relation to the patient’s stage of disease to achieve effective, stage-related application of current direct and indirect laboratory methods for the detection of B. burgdorferi s.l. Additionally, the review aims to discuss the current state of the art concerning the diagnostic potential and limitations of the assays and test methods currently in use to optimize LB patient management and provide insight into the possible future prospects of this rapidly changing area of laboratory medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-245
Number of pages27
JournalCritical reviews in clinical laboratory sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 19 2018


  • B. burgdorferi
  • Lyme borreliosis
  • PCR
  • antibody detection
  • culture
  • diagnostics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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