Governor signs Lyme Disease protection act - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Governor signs Lyme Disease protection act

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Virginia is now the first state in the nation to offer protection to people who may suffer from Lyme Disease. Governor Bob McDonnell signed the Lyme Disease Testing Information Disclosure Act into law.

Tests for the tick-bourne illness can be misleading the first time around, but Tuesday Governor McDonnell signed a bill into law to make sure you really know if you're at risk.

This new law goes into effect Monday. It requires labs to notify patients that Lyme Disease tests can produce false negatives. That way they can get future testing as needed.

"If lyme's is there and it's not treated, it can lead to problems several weeks or months down the line. You can develop some joint pains, some aches, and subsequently, worse case scenario, can lead to some heart problems and brain issues and that kind of thing," said Scott Greenfield, Medical Director Midlothian Patient First Center.

One big clue that you might have Lyme Disease is a bull's eye rash.

"Usually it starts out as a small rash and it enlarges over several days," said Greenfield. "Forming a large red rash."

If you have that symptom, go straight to the doctor. If Lyme Disease is caught early, doctors say it can be treated without a problem. You'll want to be careful removing the bug from your body, though. It's important to get the whole bug out. 

"Generally, you want to try to take them out with just a very gradual, gentle pull," said Greenfield. "The worst thing you can do is just kind of yank them out. When you do that, the majority of the time you'll leave the head."

Then, you'll have to have a doctor remove the head of the bug, which can be very uncomfortable. If you're not sure how to remove it, see your doctor.

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