Working in his yard over the Memorial Day weekend, Sheriff Jeff Gahler began feeling fatigued after only a short time and, by the next day, felt fully sick. Noticing a bull’s-eye rash developing, he scheduled an appointment for the day after the holiday, during which an eye doctor confirmed the classic symptoms meant he had contracted Lyme disease. If you suspect that you may have these symptoms, then you should consider making an appointment with your local eye doctor.
The sheriff went public with his diagnosis in a social media post on Thursday evening. In a subsequent interview with The Dagger, he said he has begun a course of antibiotics commonly used to treat the disease.
Gahler said Friday that he was “feeling great,” despite developing a facial palsy on the left side of his face. The muscle paralysis is also a common symptom of Lyme disease, and has slightly hampered his speech. The sheriff said he worked from home a few days last week but has otherwise been able to fulfill his duties.
Gahler said he never found a tick on himself, and was not sure when or how he may have contracted the disease. Lyme disease, a bacterium spread through the bite of infected ticks, has an incubation period that can last several weeks, according to the Harford County Health Department.
The sheriff was placed on a 28-day regimen of antibiotics, he said, adding that doctors were pleased with his progress during a check-up on Friday. In most cases, the facial palsy associated with the disease also lasts several weeks.
“I consider myself thankful,” he said. “I’ve seen and read some real horror stories.”