In Loudoun County, 2012 was declared Lyme Disease Awareness Year. Michael Farris, the founder and president of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, was appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell to head a statewide Lyme disease task force. Loudoun has become Ground Zero in the debate over whether Lyme disease is a serious, long-lasting syndrome as its sufferers claim, or a benign matter easily treated in a few weeks, as the Centers for Disease Control states.
And now Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are here to lend their help.
The Romney-Ryan campaign recently sent a mailer to Loudoun residents declaring Lyme disease “A massive epidemic threatening Virginia.” If elected, the mailer states, the Romney Administration will improve communication and awareness and support treatment.
The Roanoke Times recently published a fine profile of Farris, which looked at both sides of the Lyme disease issue and how Farris became involved (his wife and all seven children have Lyme disease). The Post’s Caitlin Gibson has been covering Loudoun’s official response, which included spraying the county’s parks with anti-tick insecticide last spring, which heartened some people and infuriated others.
The Post’s Rachel Weiner believes that a Sept. 13 meeting between Farris and Romney led to the Lyme mailer in Loudoun. And in an earlier post, Weiner wrote that Romney’s campaign has been microtargeting areas and issues such as Loudoun and Lyme, which may also explain the Lyme-specific mailer.