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Lyme disease exacts physical, financial tolls

Thirteen-year-old Bradley Payzant has arthritis in his knee.

Thirteen-year-old Bradley Payzant has arthritis in his knee.

It’s a lingering effect from contracting Lyme disease two years ago. He’s one of four people on his street, which borders Admirals Cove Park in Bedford, who were diagnosed with the disease. Lyme is spread by ticks that live on deer in the park.

His mother, Tanya Payzant, said his knee was swollen to twice its normal size. At first they thought it was a soccer injury, but after answering hundreds of questions from clinicians, they figured out it could be Lyme.

“He did 28 days of an oral antibiotic and then 34 days of IV antibiotics,” Tanya said. “The Lyme bacteria are gone but the arthritic symptoms are still there, and he’s on three medications and continues to have difficulty. If he plays sports for any length of time, then his knee aches a lot — it’s not over yet.”

Greg Nicks, who lives next door, developed neurological symptoms because of Lyme.

“He would search for words, like he would say, ‘Pass me the blanket,’ but he would really mean pillow. He recognized it and thought he was just getting old,” said his wife, Lisa Nicks.
After her pets were diagnosed, Lisa got her family tested and her husband’s blood tests came back positive.

“We have put in over $100,000 of landscaping to make our backyard less desirable for ticks,” she said. “It’s been expensive and that’s been the impetus for us because we don’t feel safe in the yard.”

Both Tanya and Lisa are thrilled HRM is paying to spray pesticide in Admirals Cove Park.

“We’re kidding ourselves if we say the ticks are contained in the park,” Tanya said. “The deer travel through the neighbourhood and I’ve seen them walking down the road ... These Lyme ticks are going to spread if we don’t do something to prevent it.”

 
 
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