Canton Lyme Disease Victim Fights Alarming Neighborhood Tick Trend

By Diana Perez, WBZ-TV

CANTON (CBS) – There is a side effect to spring’s arrival; Lyme disease is on the rise. The Department of Public Health has seen a rapid surge in cases in Norfolk, Middlesex, Essex counties. But it seems there’s a small pocket in Canton that’s being hit harder than anywhere else.

Denny Swenson and her husband have both fought Lyme disease, twice. It took her three months to recover the last time around. During that time she noticed a pattern in her small, wooded neighborhood, “I did a survey of the area neighbors and we found of 30 households, 18 people with Lyme disease,” explains Denny.

WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez reports

She says the problem is deer, carrying deer ticks which carry the disease, “there’s a direct correlation with the deer over population and the rate of Lyme disease.”

Denny suspects there are 100 deer roaming the woods behind her house. There should be closer to 10. So she’s upping her defenses to contain the ticks and the disease. She drags a white cloth on her grass for a tick count, puts out cotton balls laced with bug repellent for the mice to nest in and everyone going outside has to tuck their pants into their socks.

But her fight doesn’t stop end at the edge of her property, she’s now trying to get her neighbors to pitch in by organizing even asking those with a licensed to bow hunt weak, sickly and female deer.  “So this is a small dent in the problem.  It’s not going to solve the problem but if I can prevent one case of Lyme disease in my neighborhood I’m willing to do whatever I can.”

Denny lives between Blue Hills and Neponset River State Reservations, two protected forests where hunting is not allowed. She says that may also be contributing the deer over-population in her neighborhood.

She’s now planning a meeting with her neighbors at Trailside Museum in Canton on Monday April 25th at 7PM.

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