About Us

Infectolab is a medical services provider and a division of BCA-clinic Betriebs GmbH & Co. KG (www.b-c-a.de), located in Augsburg. Established in 2006, the laboratory provides diagnostic tests and conducts research into a wide range of vector-borne diseases.

Our laboratory is dedicated to continuously adjusting diagnostic requirements, monitoring treatment and performing state-of-the-art research. We provide a close relationship between patients’ treatment and the laboratory, which is very beneficial to our customers.

Our clients and partners include hospitals, laboratories, universities and medical offices from all over the world.

As we progress, we will create strong links between the development of diagnostic tools, new treatment approaches and therapy monitoring.

Infectolab is accredited by the German accreditations office DAkkS in accordance with DIN EN ISO 15189:2007.

Akkreditierungsurkunde 2015

Akkreditierungsurkunde 2015

Services

The Infectolab laboratory specialises in the diagnosis of tick-borne diseases. Ticks can transmit various pathogenic organisms, which may result in mixed infections. Laboratory tests allow us to distinguish the pathogens that are causing co-infections.

Laboratory Tests Order Form

Borrelia


Borreliosis is caused by a bacterium (a spirochaete) that normally enters the body through a tick bite. In most cases, the infection progresses without severe symptoms and is controlled and finally eliminated by the immune system. However, if the immune system’s protection is not sufficient, the infection may become chronic (e.g. it will affect the joints). Currently, there is no available vaccine for borreliosis. Therefore, if a patient notices a tick bite and develops symptoms of borreliosis, a diagnostic procedure should be initiated.

The most important pathogenic species causing borreliosis are Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia garinii and Borellia afzelii, which are distantly related to the syphilis-causing pathogen Treponema pallidum.

In addition to borreliosis, a tick bite can also transmit other pathogenic agents (e.g. Rickettsia, Babesia and ehrlichiosis).

Tests offered by Infectolab:

LymeSpot Revised CPDA tubes
LymeSpot Revised or Borrelia and Chlamydia pneumoniae CPDA tubes
Borrelia EliSpot CPDA tubes
CD3-/CD57+ cells Heparin + EDTA tubes
Borrelia IgG and IgM-EIA Serum tubes
Borrelia IgG and IgM-Blot Serum tubes

Chlamydia

Chlamydia

Chlamydia are a broad family of ball-shaped bacteria that, depending on the subgroup, can cause various diseases. Chlamydia need cells of other organisms to survive and proliferate and can cause diseases such as acute chest infection, vascular calcification and, albeit rarely, a coronary heart disease. Two important subgroups are:

  • Chlamydia pneumoniae, which can cause inflammation of the bronchia (bronchitis) and sinuses (sinusitis). This type of Chlamydia is found all around the world. It can also result in pneumonia (so-called ‘atypical pneumonia’), which is usually mild.
  • Chlamydia trachomatis, which can cause sexually transmitted diseases and inflammation of the eye. This Chlamydia infection is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in today’s society. Depending on the age group, up to 10% of the population is infected with Chlamydia trachomatis. Women may be affected by the pathogen without displaying any symptoms and the infection can occasionally cause sterility.

Tests offered by Infectolab:

LymeSpot Revised or Borrelia and Chlamydia pneumoniae CPDA tubes
Chlamydia pneumoniae EliSpot CPDA tubes
Chlamydia pneumoniae antibodies Serum tubes
Chlamydia trachomatis EliSpot CPDA tubes
Chlamydia pneumoniae antibodies Serum tubes

Ehrlichia

Ehrlichia

Most infections with the Ehrlichia bacterium are mild, with few cases being severe. The number of chronic forms is not currently known.

Ehrlichia infections were previously assigned to rickettsioses, yet the infection is now considered a separate category of pathogen. Ehrlichia is usually transmitted to humans via ticks. The sickness manifests itself as a feverish, flu-like infection with headaches. In the event of severe sickness, myalgia, liver and kidney dysfunctions as well as inflammation to the meninges will occur.

Tests offered by Infectolab:

Ehrlichia EliSpot CPDA tubes
Ehrlichia IgM + IgG antibodies Serum tubes

Rickettsia

Rickettsia

Rickettsia bacteria can be found in ticks and fleas, with mites and lice also considered as potential transmitters. Rickettsia have been detected in ticks in Germany as well as in Switzerland. In humans, these bacteria cause various diseases with varying sickness patterns, which have been named ‘relapsing fever infections’ (group of Rickettsioses). These include spotted fever, Rickettsia measles, Brill-Zinsser disease, Mediterranean spotted fever and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

The clinical pattern is dominated by fever, headache, numbness, a maculous exanthema (small red spots) and, in rare cases, myocarditis.

Tests offered by Infectolab:

Rickettsia IgG antibodies Serum tubes

Babesia

Babesia

A Babesia infection is a protozoan infection, which can cause babesiosis in humans and animals. These pathogens affect the red blood cells (erythrocytes). Since the erythrocytes harbour the organisms, the symptoms are fever, anaemia, jaundice and, in acute cases, a coffee brown-to-red coloured urine may occur.

This sickness is known as ‘canine malaria’ in dogs. In humans, it is rarely diagnosed due to a normally inconspicuous course of sickness. However, in patients with immune defects it can become severe.

Tests offered by Infectolab:

Babesia IgG antibodies Serum tubes

Bartonella

Bartonella

Bartonella henselae is a gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium. It is known as the pathogen of cat-scratch disease. This infectious disease is transmitted by scratching injuries caused by cats and is identified on the basis of lymph node swelling on the armpit, neck or groin region and often progresses in a benign manner. Patients with existing immune weaknesses tend to sicken more easily and for longer periods.

New studies have shown that ticks in endemic areas can be infected with Bartonella, therefore it is likely that tick bites may result in subsequent infections.

Tests offered by Infectolab:

Bartonella IgG antibodies Serum tubes

Yersinia

Yersinia

Yersinia are known as diarrhoea and colitis-causing pathogens. Following Yersinia infections, antibodies can be detected for many years. In rare cases, mild infections may result in joint problems.

Tests offered by Infectolab:

Yersinien EliSpot CPDA tubes
Yersinia IgM + IgA antibodies Serum tubes

EBV

EBV

A pathogen of the herpes virus group, which can play a role in chronic diseases, is the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV). More than 90% of humans have experienced an EBV infection by the end of their puberty and will have produced antibodies that continue to exist for their entire lifetime. In a weakened immune system with the presence of particular bacteria (e,g, mycoplasma), reactivation of EBV with symptoms may occur.

Tests offered by Infectolab:

EBV EliSpot CPDA tubes
EBV antibodies Serum tubes

CMV

CMV

Many adults have experienced a cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection during their lifetime. In the acute stage, the symptoms can include pneumonia, hepatitis, retinitis or colitis. In most cases, however, the infection does not cause symptoms. In the presence of a weak immune system, a reactivation may take place.

Tests offered by Infectolab:

CMV EliSpot CPDA tubes
CMV antibodies Serum tubes

Laboratory Methods

ELISA

ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay) is a method that is used at Infectolab for detecting antibodies in patients’ serum. Due to its high level of sensitivity, ELISA is used as a search test.

Material: 1 x Serum tubes (centrifuge after blood drawing)

Turnaround time: Two days (Note: Taking into account the required pre- and post-analytical work, the report is created in about one week)

Further reading and studies can be found here.

Immunoblot

The Immunoblot is highly specific in detecting whether an antibody response exists against a particular pathogen.

  • Evidence of lgM antibodies usually provides an indication of a recently acquired infection. However, lgM antibodies can also persist in the event of chronic sicknesses over long periods of time.
  • In the earliest cases, lgG antibodies occur months after an infection and represent a previous antigen antibody contact. In the context of clinical symptoms, IgG antibodies may provide information on the late stage of borreliosis.

The Immunoblot is composed of blot strips upon which separate single antigens of the pathogens are affixed. These are capable of binding antibodies (lgG and lgM respectively) and are dyed via chemical reaction for easy visualisation. The stripe normally also contains VisE (a surface marker), which has a high level of sensitivity to the organism.

Material: 1 x Serum tubes (centrifuge after blood drawing)

Turnaround time: Two days (Note: Taking into account the required pre- and post-analytical work, the report is created in about one week)

Further reading and studies can be found here.

EliSpot and LymeSpot revised

The EliSpot (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Spot Assay) measures the number of activated T-lymphocytes in cell cultures that release cytokines after being challenged by the relevant antigen.

The EliSpot (Interferon γ-test) is a test to detect an infection with Borrelia and various co-pathogens on a cellular level. The first generation of the enzymatic EliSpot provided key additional information on the status of the infection, together with the determination of the CD3 / CD57-NK cells.

This test has now been enhanced and the new EliSpot, ‘LymeSpot Revised’, provides even more detailed information on the activity of the infection. This test can help to identify whether an active (specific effector cells) or a latent (specific memory cells) phase of the infection is present. Thanks to this progress, we are in a much better position to assess inflammation and autoimmune processes.

While the existing Elispot test is exclusively based on the production of γ-Interferon, the new LymeSpot also determines Cytokine IL-2 production. In accordance with the traffic light principle, an active infection (predominantly effector cells) shows green in the test result, meaning that treatment of the infection is necessary. If the ratio of γ-Interferon and Interleukin-2 is reversed, a latent disease can be assumed, manifesting itself as the colour red in the laboratory test (predominantly memory cells). In this case, a mandatory anti-infective treatment would no longer be needed.

More information

Material: 2 x 8.5 ml CPDA tubes (Do not centrifuge. Store at room temperature. Do not cool)

Turnaround time: Two days (Note: Taking into account the required pre- and post-analytical work, the report is created in about one week)

Further reading and studies can be found here.

Flow-through cytometry

The CD57+Immune cells can correlate with pathogen activity, indicate a weakened immune system and are used as diagnostic markers.

The CD57+Immune cells are measured with the established method of flow-through cytometry, which is used in many areas of medicine for cell characterisation. The CD57+cells are natural killer (NK) cells.

Material: 1 x Heparin tubes + 1 x EDTA tubes (Do not centrifuge. Store at room temperature. Do not cool.)

Turnaround time: Two days (Note: Taking into account the required pre- and post-analytical work, the report is created in about one week)

Further reading and studies can be found here

Further laboratory measures

In addition to the tests for a specific pathogen, we also offer a comprehensive additional diagnostic approach and work in co-operation with other external laboratories such as the Ulm Diagnosis Centre, which is under the medical management of PD Dr. med. M. Susa.

This includes Stress Profiles, PCRF from blood and tissue or SIBO-Lab_Order_Form.The SIBO tests (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth syndrome), which test for the faulty population of the small intestine, are offered in co-operation with the LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition Center (USA), which is under the medical management of Dr. Farshad Rahbar.

An overview of the additional services that we offer can be found in our laboratory order form.

Preanalytics

To guarantee that the laboratory results are not influenced by external environmental factors, the following pre-analytical procedures should be followed:

Please only use our specially provided laboratory kits for testing. Unless otherwise requested, each kit contains the following:

2 x Serum tube (brown top)
1 x Heparin tube (blue top)
1 x EDTA tube (red top)
3 x CPDA tubes (yellow top)

Please collect the blood from Monday to Wednesday (not on Friday or before a public or Bank holiday). All material should be delivered to the Infectolab laboratory for analysis from Monday to Friday or on Saturday morning.

After they have been filled with specimen, the cell-stabilising CPDA tubes allow a maximum shelf life of up to three days, so please post them as soon as possible.

On the Declaration of Consent laboratory order form (Cost Assumption Declaration), please tick the necessary examinations and ensure that the patient also signs it (if you are not the patient).

NB: The blood must be stored at room temperature and not be stored in a cool place, especially not in the fridge.

Furthermore, the blood should not be centrifuged, with the exception of blood being prepared for antibody tests such as ELISA or Immunoblot.

Note: Please use the enclosed packaging for transport, which is up-to-date with current mail regulations.

If you have any further enquiries, need assistance or want to request further test packages, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Infectolab is open every day from Monday to Friday. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Telephone: +49 (0)821 4550740
or
e-mail: service@infectolab.de

More information on these test methods and their validity can also be found at: borreliose-centrum-augsburg.de/en/our-opinion-studies

News

LymeSpot Revised: The new generation EliSpot

EliSpot is used to detect an infection of Borrelia and its co-infections on a cellular level. It is trustworthy and we have now been using it for several years. The first generation of enzymatic EliSpots determined the interferon-gamma production of cells and provided vital information about the infection. We have now developed this test even further.

The new EliSpot, ‘LymeSpot Revised’, delivers detailed information about the activity of the infection and/or inflammation. This test can better differentiate between an active (specific effector-cells) or latent (specific memory-cells) infection. As a result, it is now possible to evaluate whether it is an infection, inflammation or autoimmune processes that are prevailing. In comparison with EliSpot, which is based on the production of interferon-γ, LymeSpot also determines the levels of cytokine IL-2.

For more information, click here

On the 12th of February 2015, a new study was published that demonstrates the clinical benefits of the therapeutic approach by EliSpot Assay in identifying the two cytokines Gamma-Interferon and Interleukin-2 amongst patients with acute and chronic Q-fever. Q-fever is also a tick-borne disease. You can find this study here.

Research projects (or scientific studies)

Research projects (or scientific studies)

1. “Sexual Transmission of Borrelia” directed by Prof. Leona Gilbert, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Under the medical lead of Dr. Carsten Nicolaus, the physicians of the BCA-clinic are investigating sexual contact as a possible route of transmission in Borrelia, the agent of Lyme disease. The Infectolab laboratory, under the medical lead of Dr. Horst Günter Maxeiner, is also involved in this multi-centre study.

To demonstrate this transmission, the organism has to be shown to be present in the sexual secretions of both partners by several independent methods. As a specialised and expert lead institution, we have decided to participate in the international study. The anonymised participants will help researchers to explore the life cycle of Borrelia, which in turn may lead to new methods of prevention, diagnosis and therapy.
For more information, see here.

2. “HILYSENS: Development of Disease Specific Biochips”

HILYSENS will be the first lab-on-a-chip tool to allow specific and sensitive detection of acute, chronic and autoimmune-associated Lyme Disease and to ensure specific, rapid, non-invasive and easy diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring. Some of the potential clinical consequences of HILYSENS will lead to a better use of resources, reduction of associated costs and an increased quality of care.

This project is carried out in collaboration with the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and with biotechnical companies STAB VIDA (Portugal), MicroLIQUID and Micro Bio Devices (both from Italy).

HILYSENS is a project that is supported by the European Commission, the 7th Framework Programme funded European Research and Technological Development.

Click here and read more!

Contact

InfectoLab

A business division of BCA-clinic Betriebs GmbH & Co. KG
Carsten Nicolaus MD, PhD; General Practitioner
Medical Director & CEO
Morellstraße 33
86159 Augsburg
Germany

Laboratory Medical Director
Horst Günter Maxeiner MD – Consultant for clinical microbiology and infection control

For more information, laboratory test order forms and logistical enquiries please contact:

e-mail: service(at)infectolab(dot)de

Phone: + 49 (0) 821 4550740

Fax: + 49 (0) 821 4550741

Sign Up to our Mailing List

All laboratory tests are billed according to the German “Gebührenordnung für Ärzte” (GOÄ).

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