Lyme Lives Here

Doctors and lawmakers alike take a stand against this misunderstood disease permeating Southeastern Pennsylvania.

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Elsewhere, Wagner’s nonprofit MontCoLyme ( is regionally focused on education and outreach, with an emphasis on youth. Her Lyme Action PA was formed as a statewide coalition that includes the LDA and 14 others. It emphasizes legislation and advocacy.

Wagner’s entire family fell ill with Lyme in 2005. When she e-mailed 50 homes in her North Wales neighborhood, she received 19 responses from similarly affected families within an hour. She traces her early infections to the years she lived in Rosemont, Narberth and Merion Station in the late 1980s.

For a while, the disease left Wagner a cognitive wreck. Her daughter, Sarah, lost her ability to speak German, the native language of her dad, Andreas. She also developed dyslexia. “She’d say things like, ‘I’m so sad, and I don’t know why,’” her mother recounts. “She was 6 years old.”

Her oldest son, Samuel, then 4, lost control of his bladder and bowels. Peter was 18 months old when Julia was diagnosed. The baby tested positive for nearly every tick-borne co-infection. “It was like we were imploding,” recalls Wagner.

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