CHARLESTON Governor Jim Justice confirmed he has Lyme disease.
The governor announced the blood work results for Lyme disease Wednesday evening. The 71-year-old Justice began feeling unwell last week after several events in the northern part of the state.
“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,” Justice said in a statement released by his office.
Justice says he is feeling better everyday and continued to encourage other West Virginians to monitor for ticks and use insect repellent.
“I remind all West Virginians, when you go outdoors, monitor yourself for ticks and use insect repellent to stay safe,” the Governor said.
According to State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad, Lyme disease has been a growing problem that has migrated from the Eastern Panhandle of the state.
“I think because of the wildlife around,” Dr. Amjad said, “West Virginia has been seeing a lot more tick-borne illnesses and cases.”
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reports a 32% increase in confirmed Lyme disease cases.
Residents afield or hiking are encouraged to use insect repellent, wear a hat, cover exposed skin and avoid tall grassy areas.
Ticks must be removed quickly with tweezers as fingers may inadvertently inject toxins into the body.
“You want to pick it off and try to get the whole body and not squish it on your skin, so you want to take it alive off of you,” Amjad said.
Lyme disease symptoms include chills, fatigue, fever, body aches, headache or a skin rash.
The press releases from the Governor’s office, says Justice will remain on antibiotics for several weeks to fight infection.