Governor returns from bout with Lyme disease, warning people to take it seriously

Gov. Jim Justice returned today from a bout with illness that he characterized as Lyme disease, which is a common tickborne disease.

“The last few days were unusual to say the least. I would have never dreamed that a little tick caused the magnitude of problem that it caused,” Justice said during a wide-ranging briefing today.

The governor has continued to lead regular briefings about West Virginia’s response to covid-19. But those briefings were canceled last week after Justice became ill.

The governor’s office announced Wednesday that Justice began feeling sick after events last Monday in Wheeling and Blacksville. He tested negative for the coronavirus. That statement indicated he was being treated for possible Lyme disease.

Justice said feeling so bad doesn’t often happen to him.

“I’m really foreign to getting to feeling bad. I can’t recall ever missing a day’s work by being sick,” he said today.

Symptoms within three to 30 days of contracting Lyme disease can include fever, headache, chills and rash. Without treatment with antibiotics, Lyme disease can progress over time cause recurrent arthritis, pain and swelling at joints, facial palsy and neurological complications.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by bites borne by deer ticks. It is the most common tickborne disease in the United States and West Virginia.

“I would caution everyone, take a tick bite really serious,” Justice said.

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