If a New York doctor suspects that a patient may have Lyme disease, the first step is to do a blood test. The blood test will look for the presence of Lyme antibodies as antibodies are the body's way of trying to stop the infection from getting worse. However, the presence of antibodies means that an individual may have been exposed to the illness even if he or she doesn't actually have it.
The next step is to do a blot test that looks for more specific signs of the disease. However, it is still possible that a patient had the condition years ago or was exposed to it without experiencing any symptoms in the past. Therefore, a patient could have another condition while spending months or even years getting treated for a disease that he or she doesn't have.