For the diagnosis of Lyme disease, the 2-tier serologic testing protocol for Lyme disease has a number of shortcomings including low sensitivity in early disease; increased cost, time, and labor; and subjectivity in the interpretation of immunoblots. In this study, the diagnostic accuracy of a single-tier commercial C6 ELISA kit was compared with 2-tier testing. The results showed that the C6 ELISA was significantly more sensitive than 2-tier testing with sensitivities of 66.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 61.7-71.1) and 35.2% (95% CI 30.6-40.1), respectively (P < 0.001) in 403 sera from patients with erythema migrans. The C6 ELISA had sensitivity statistically comparable to 2-tier testing in sera from Lyme disease patients with early neurologic manifestations (88.6% versus 77.3%, P = 0.13) or arthritis (98.3% versus 95.6%, P = 0.38). The specificities of C6 ELISA and 2-tier testing in over 2200 blood donors, patients with other conditions, and Lyme disease vaccine recipients were found to be 98.9% and 99.5%, respectively (P < 0.05, 95% CI surrounding the 0.6 percentage point difference of 0.04 to 1.15). In conclusion, using a reference standard of 2-tier testing, the C6 ELISA as a single-step serodiagnostic test provided increased sensitivity in early Lyme disease with comparable sensitivity in later manifestations of Lyme disease. The C6 ELISA had slightly decreased specificity. Future studies should evaluate the performance of the C6 ELISA compared with 2-tier testing in routine clinical practice.
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