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.

  • Steve Shepard

    What’s more dangerous? Lyme disease or a bunch of bow hunters running around your neighborhood? I’d rather take my chances against the deer ticks.
    I’d rather prevent one case of a child being shot by bow hunter.

    • Frank

      Steve- Clearly you or a loved one have never had Lyme disease. Your comment about bow-hunting is based on fear-mongering not fact. Bow-hunters are stationary and shoot at close range only after clearly identifying a deer as the target. Can you site one instance of a bow-hunter shooting anyone? No.

  • MissMoneyPenny

    My husband got Lyme Disease and we don’t have any dogs or cats…some of his coworkers do though…

    I have a friend out in California who has it and wasn’t diagnosed early…she basically had to do chemo to get rid of it. She had three different types of the spirochytes that cause the disease…

  • Larry Dapsis

    Lyme is certainly a serious disease with long-term health consequences. It has been a major concern on the Cape and the Islands for many years. I manage the Deer Tick/Lyme Disease research/outreach program for Barnstable County. Please check out our website: Natural Rescources page…we have some very good information available to help people protect themselves. This is a preventable disease. We also have several research projects underway to see how we might be able to reduce this risk.
    Larry Dapsis,

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