Nine long days in the hospital could come to an end today for Woodbury Chief of Police Tony Burnett.
Burnett was admitted to Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro on May 30 suffering from double pneumonia and an infection.
The pneumonia was successfully treated last week, but Burnett continued to experience a high fever related to the infection.
A specialist was called in to assess the case this past weekend, and diagnosed that Burnett had Lyme disease.
Woodbury Mayor Harold Patrick said he spoke with Burnett by phone at around 6 a.m. today and described him as being in "good spirits, but weak."
Patrick said Burnett was hopeful that he would be released this morning, but would not know for certain until after he is examined by a doctor.
Lyme disease is an infection that is transmitted through the bite of a tick infected with a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. Ticks typically get the bacterium by biting infected animals, like deer and mice.
Although most people who get tick bites do not get Lyme disease, the condition is serious enough that every tick bite should be evaluated. The risk for contracting the disease increases the longer the tick is attached to the body.
Within 1-4 weeks of being bitten by an infected tick, most people will experience some symptoms of Lyme disease. A circular, expanding rash (called erythema migrans) at the site of the bite develops in about 70%-80% of cases. Some people report flu-like symptoms at this stage, including fever, chills, headaches, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, joint pain, and muscle aches.
Burnett recently went on a horseback riding trip to Gatlinburg, and it is believed he contacted the disease while there.