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West Virginia reports increasing Lyme disease cases

West Virginia health officials said tick-borne Lyme disease has spread across the state over the past six years with cases in 52 of the state's 55 counties. (MGN Online)

West Virginia health officials said tick-borne Lyme disease has spread across the state over the past six years with cases in 52 of the state's 55 counties.

The Department of Health and Human Resources said most cases are reported in the northern and eastern panhandles probably because of proximity to high incidence states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

According to the department, 580 cases were reported so far this year, up from 97 statewide in 2012.

In an advisory Monday to providers, Health Commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta says the increase could be from increased reporting or from more ticks infected with the bacteria.

He said most cases appear May through September, but ticks have become more active in winter months.

Patients treated early with antibiotics usually recover quickly.

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