26 cases reported in one Columbia neighborhood; resident: ‘truly an epidemic’
By Jennifer Broadwater
Carol Loeb, who has watched the life of her daughter Beth, 25, change over the past decade because of Beth’s chronic Lyme disease, helped lead the charge in successfully lobbying village and Columbia Association leaders for the installation of a deer tick control program in the wooded area near their home in Kings Contrivance. (Staff photo by Sarah Pastrana)Residents of a Kings Contrivance neighborhood beset with cases of Lyme disease hope to get some relief with the recent installation of deer tick control devices.
The disease has reached alarming levels in the neighborhood — 26 cases of Lyme disease in 22 homes have been reported — Huntington resident Lynn Juliano said.
“We have had enormous problems with deer. The deer have been part of the landscape here forever,” she said. “I don’t even go out in my yard for fear of it. It’s a beautiful neighborhood, but I don’t go out.”
The issue hits home for Juliano’s neighbor, Carol Loeb, who has watched the life of her 25-year-old daughter, Beth Loeb, change over the past decade as Beth battles chronic Lyme disease.
“All the suffering she and our family have been through — it’s a simple tick bite, but it can turn your life upside down,” Carol Loeb said.
Deer often carry the black-legged tick, which spread Lyme disease. The disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria transmitted by infected ticks.
Detected early, the disease can be cured by antibiotics. Cases that go untreated or are not treated early enough may result in chronic symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, facial nerve paralysis and other neurological problems.
Howard County has had either the highest or one of the highest numbers of reported cases of Lyme disease in the state in recent years, according to state records.
There were 358 cases in the county in 2007, 369 cases in 2008, and 268 cases in 2009, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2010, the Howard County Health Department has tracked 72 confirmed cases, 23 probable cases and 17 suspected cases.
Killing the ticks
Juliano and Loeb led the charge in successfully lobbying village and Columbia Association leaders for the installation of a deer tick control program in the wooded area near their home.
In May, the women asked the Kings Contrivance Village Board for support for the installation and upkeep of a four-poster deer treatment station.
CA has since installed two of the four-poster%