Reports of Lyme disease in the Washington have grown in recent years, more than doubling in Virginia and Maryland from 2006 to 2007, the last year for which data are available.
Loudoun County health director David Goodfriend says the black-legged ticks, commonly called deer ticks, that carry the disease are taking hold in the Potomac region.
If caught early, most cases can be treated quickly. If not, the disease can bring heart and joint problems as well as Bell's palsy.
The first sign in about 70 percent of cases is a bulls-eye-like rash three to 30 days after a bite.