The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 27, 1999


BOH records first adult case of Lyme disease

Agent Linda Fantasia reported the first adult case of Lyme disease in Carlisle at the August 10 meeting of the Carlisle Board of Health. Two children in town had previously contracted the disease. Fantasia has fielded a wide variety of inquiries in the past few weeks since the July 16 Mosquito issue that publicized the earliest cases. The deer tick, the common carrier of Lyme disease, is much smaller and less common than the wood tick frequently found on pets in Carlisle.

"Given the population in town, I don't think these cases are of major concern," said board member Laura Semrad. An oncology nurse at Mass. General, Semrad pays special attention to community health issues. Semrad feels that Carlisle residents are in more danger when they travel to high-risk areas, such as the Cape. She does recommend, however, wearing protective clothing when walking in any densely wooded area.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines, "even being bitten by a Lyme tick does not necessarily mean that you will get the disease. The tick must be attached for at least 24 hours to pass on the bacteria." Unfortunately, many people panic upon seeing a tick and immediately seek a course of antibiotics. Tests for Lyme disease are not reliable until four to six weeks after exposure to the bacteria from a deer tick, so doctors cannot quickly ascertain whether or not antibiotics are truly necessary.

According to Semrad, if someone suspects a close encounter with a deer tick and then a month or so later experiences flu-like symptoms such as fever, aching joints and fatigue, it's a good idea to request a Lyme disease test from a physician. At that point, the test results are credible, chronic effects are still preventable, and the individual may be able to avoid an unnecessary and lengthy treatment.

"The worst effects are long-term so there is time to do the testing," said Semrad. "But if someone found a deer tick imbedded in their skin and a bull's-eye rash, then they should go to the doctor immediately." The physician can more safely remove the tick than the affected individual, and can even have the tick itself tested for Lyme disease. This is another way of avoiding unnecessary antibiotics, and reserving their effectiveness for when you really need them.

Clearing the way

After discussing the new case of Lyme disease, the BOH moved ahead with decisions on the following properties.

· 625 Rutland Street (Semiotes Consulting) - The board approved revised plans for installation of a MicroFAST system. A waiver from the 100-foot setback to wetlands is necessary; however, the use of a traditional system would have encroached even further.

· Lot A Bingham Road (David Ross Associates) - The board approved plans for a system at a new construction site. The solution did not require any waivers.

· 203 Fiske Street (David Ross Associates) - The board approved a plan without waivers for a septic system repair.

· 28 Pilgrim Path (Stamski and McNary) - After review of the data, the board concluded that the septic system passed Title 5 requirements and dismissed an earlier conflicting report from Raggs Septic.

· Lot 1 Lowell Street (Stamski and McNary) - The board discussed septic system requirements for new construction with George Dimakarakos of Stamski and McNary. Guidelines for the site which just exceeds one acre were unclear. The group determined that the three-bedroom dwelling required a 440-gallon dual-compartment system and provisions for a garbage disposal could not be included.

Chair Steve Opolski noted that the board needs to clarify the local regulations. Lots between one and two acres are not fully covered by the town's stringent guidelines and engineering firms are tempted to follow the less restrictive state requirements. Although development of lots that are under two acres is allowed only in Residential District A in the center of town, regulations should be clear for engineering firms.

"The board's stance is not a regulatory look, but a scientific one," said Opolski. A septic design plan should follow state and local regulations, but he made it clear that the board will also consider new environmental studies and emerging data before approving any new plans.

Revisions fix problems

The board finalized two septic disposal plans for system repairs.

· 169 Church St. (Acton Survey) - The board approved the revised plan without waivers.

· 108 Hemlock Hill Road (Stamski and McNary) - The board approved the revised plan without waivers

The board also reviewed two plans for new construction.

· Buttrick Lane, Lot 5 (Stamski and McNary) - The board approved the revised plan without waivers.

· Concord Street, Lot 2 (Wilson Associates) - The board continued the hearing on a plan that contained several open issues.

The board considered one system upgrade:

· 498 Curve St. (Taj Engineering) - The board approved a plan without waivers.

The BOH will meet next on Tuesday, September 7.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito