President Bush was successfully treated for Lyme disease nearly a year ago, the White House announced today.
The condition had never been revealed until the White House today made public the results of his annual physical exam. They said that he was treated for what they called "early, localized Lyme disease" last August after developing the characteristic bullseye rash, and that it did not recur.
Lyme disease is a common tick-borne infection that if left untreated can cause arthritis and other problems. The president's main form of exercise and recreational activity is mountain biking, which could bring him in contact with ticks.
Bush's last physical was Aug. 1, 2006, conducted as usual on a several-hours visit to the National Naval Medical Center in suburban Maryland. From this one, which took place in a series of exams at the White House over a couple of weeks, doctors pronounced him healthy overall.
"Doctors have determined that the president remains in superior fitness for a man his age — anybody who's seen him on the bike or out and about certainly knows that — and that he is fit for duty," Snow said.
The White House did not disclose that Bush was undergoing his physical until today when they announced the results.
As part of it, Bush had a colonoscopy last month over a weekend at his Camp David, Md., mountaintop retreat. Five small growths were removed from his colon but doctors determined that none of them was cancerous.
Eleven doctors were involved in the exams, overseen by White House physician Richard Tubb and Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the president of The Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas. The group included skin, hearing, heart, eye, neurological and sports medicine specialists.
Each signed a statement saying that "within the scope of my specialty" they found Bush "fit for duty" with the expectation that he will remain so for the duration of his presidency — standard language used after presidential physicals.