Updated on Thursday, June 2, 2022 at 9 a.m.
Gov. Jim Justice has been ill for days after contracting lyme disease.
The governor’s office released this information Wednesday evening after blood work results revealed the disease.
Gov. Justice is taking antibiotics to fight the infection. The treatment will last for several weeks.
“I’m feeling better every day,” Gov. Justice said. “I always want to first thank God above for all of our blessings. Additionally, I thank my doctors for all they’ve done, and I appreciate all the West Virginians who have expressed their wishes for my speedy recovery.
“I remind all West Virginians, when you go outdoors, monitor yourself for ticks and use insect repellent to stay safe.”
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health is urging residents to take preventive measures against tickborne diseases.
Lyme disease is the state’s most common tickborne disease with more than 1,000 confirmed cases in 2021.
“We’re seeing increased cases across the country really during the summer months,” said State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad. “So it’s just to raise awareness for people, especially people going outdoors.”
Other tickborne illnesses such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever have been reported in the state, but at far lower rates of about 1-10 cases per year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends checking your clothing and body for ticks, examining gear and pets and showering soon after being outdoors.
Amjad advised that since the symptoms of tickborne illnesses, such as a low-grade fever or aches and pains, can be vague, it’s important to eliminate other causes and provide medical providers with context.
“I would tell anybody who’s having these vague symptoms, and everything basic has been ruled out, we’re ruling out COVID, urine infections, you should tell your doctor, ‘Well, you know, maybe I went hiking or been outside or we do have a lot of deer in our vicinity,’” Amjad said. “And it’s something to keep on the back of the mind of providers really to either look more around the body for any rashes, or to go ahead and … doing bloodwork to diagnose it.
It’s important to save any ticks that may have been involved with a bite which may help medical staff with treatment.
The public notice comes just one day after Gov. Jim Justice revealed during Tuesday’s COVID-19 press conference that a tickborne disease was the likely reason for his illness the previous week.
“I can’t imagine the magnitude of a small little tick that could get on you that could cause a lot of issues and everything,” Justice said. “I would caution everyone, take a tick bite really serious.”