Ticks are expanding their habitat across the United States, leading to an increase in the prevalence of tick-borne illness. Since there are multiple types which vary regionally1 and co-infection with similar symptoms can occur, it can be challenging to determine which illness—or combination of illnesses—afflicts the infected person.

In addition, patients are often unfamiliar with the symptoms of tick-borne illness, which can delay treatment. To help diagnose and treat tick-borne illness earlier, proper identification is key. The CDC guidelines for the diagnosis of tick-borne diseases recommend lab testing to confirm diagnosis.

Depending on the patient’s initial exposure, onset, and symptoms, there are molecular and serological tests available. In fact, Quest Diagnostics has expanded its portfolio of tick-borne illness testing:

Tick-Borne Disease Testing Panels
There are two tick-borne disease testing panels that can help provide the insight you need for diagnosis. The acute molecular panel is most helpful 1-2 weeks after disease onset to differentiate pathogens and possible co-infection, while the antibody panel is ideal when symptoms or infection is unclear.

Two-Step Testing for Lyme Disease
Quest offers both of the CDC-recommended two-step testing processes for the serological diagnosis of Lyme disease, including the standard two-tier test (STTT) and the modified two-tier test (MTTT), which is more sensitive in the early stages of the disease.2,3

Borrelia PCR Test
 The addition of the Borrelia PCR test to the Quest portfolio provides a more comprehensive and differentiating test for Borrelia diagnosis.

For more information on different types of tick-borne testing, visit Quest Diagnostics.


  1. Tickborne diseases of the United States: a reference manual for health care providers. 4th edition, 2017. Accessed May 6, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/resources/tickbornediseases.pdf
  2. Porwancher RB, Hagerty CG, Fan J, et Multiplex immunoassay for Lyme disease using VlsE1-IgG and pepC10-IgM antibodies: improving test performance through bioinformatics. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2011;18(5):851-859. doi:10.1128/CVI.00409-10
  3. Branda JA, Linskey K, Kim YA, Steere AC, Ferraro Two-tiered antibody testing for Lyme disease with use of 2 enzyme immunoassays, a whole-cell sonicate enzyme immunoassay followed by a VlsE C6 peptide enzyme immunoassay. Clin Infect Dis. 2011;53(6):541-547. doi: 10.1093/cid/cir464