SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new diagnostic test that will revolutionize the speed and accuracy for Lyme disease diagnosis is being introduced at select urgent care and physician office locations throughout the United States.
It is estimated that as many as 400,000 Americans are impacted by Lyme disease yearly, and the majority of those go undiagnosed. Patients who have been exposed to Lyme and are experiencing symptoms may now ask their physicians for a rapid, in-office test during an office visit.
The new Sofia 2 in-office test aids in the diagnosis of Lyme disease and provides a patient as well as his or her physician with indicative results within minutes if he or she has tested positive or negative for Lyme disease, as opposed to days, which has historically been the norm. Additionally, it's the only test that can get results from a simple finger prick of blood.
The kit was developed by Quidel, a California-based diagnostic healthcare manufacturer that is a leader in developing rapid diagnostic health solutions. Quidel has now used the same technology principles in its goal to aid in the rapid testing for Lyme disease.
“Given that the vast majority of patients tested are negative, getting results so quickly will mean discernable peace of mind for consumers and remove a significant weight off their shoulders,” said Judi Tilghman, Ph.D., vice president of technology assessment at Quidel. “In addition, not having to wait days or more for test results allows physicians and nurse practitioners to rapidly treat patients by quickly pursuing other testing if deemed necessary for diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.”
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread when people are bitten by an infected deer tick. In the United States, deer ticks—the size of a poppy seed—are found mostly in the heavily wooded areas of the Northeast and Midwest. Anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors in these environments or travels to them are most vulnerable, as is anyone who plays a sport on grass or who spends time in wooded/grassy areas such as pet owners, hikers, hunters and fishermen.
Unlike a mosquito bite where people know immediately if they have been bitten, one of the challenges with Lyme disease is that symptoms usually will not appear for two to six weeks and may appear in a low-visibility area of the body such as in hair, an underarm or groin. At that point, typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, joint pain, weakness in the limbs and often a characteristic skin rash with a bull's-eye pattern.
Dr. Tilghman says that anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should be tested immediately. “With appropriate antibiotic treatment, most people with Lyme disease recover completely,” she says. “But the key is catching it early, and that means not hesitating to get tested.”
To help raise awareness of the risk factors and symptoms of Lyme disease—as well as the importance of being tested—Quidel’s one-of-its-kind Lymemobile travels to trail heads, hiking clubs, universities that have outdoor groups and appropriate associations (such as park rangers), athletic associations and other designated sites.
Patients seeking more information are encouraged to contact their private physician to find out more about the availability of this revolutionary new test in their area. More information on Quidel may be obtained at Quidel.com.