Health protection – guidance

Lyme borreliosis service

Diagnostic and advisory service for Lyme borreliosis and related diseases.

Diagnostic tests

The Lyme diagnostic service is provided by the rare and imported pathogens laboratory (RIPL) at Public Health England Porton.

Lyme is usually diagnosed by serology. RIPL uses a 2-tier testing methodology. The screening test is a C6 antigen based ELISA (combined IgG and IgM), followed by a confirmatory Western blot (separate IgG and IgM).

PCR is also available and may be useful in testing joint fluid and biopsies of rashes. It has poor sensitivity on CSF and antibody detection is the preferred first line test on CSF. PCR is not usually performed on blood as the duration of bacteraemia is short.

RIPL can also perform further tests for diseases related to Lyme. Please contact the laboratory to discuss.

Send a clinical sample through your local laboratory services provider with a completed RIPL Lyme request form (P2).

Clinical advice

RIPL clinical staff are available to discuss cases with medical professionals during working hours. See RIPL contact details below.

There’s no clinic at Public Health England Porton and we’re unable to see patients or give phone advice to members of the public.

Lyme service user manual and request form

Contact information

Rare and imported pathogens laboratory (RIPL)

Public Health England
Manor Farm Road
Porton Down
Wiltshire
SP4 0JG