Earth Connection is a school of primitive skills and wilderness survival located in Northern Virginia and North Carolina (Raleigh/Durham area) that has been in existence for over a decade. Our hands-on classes are reasonably priced because we don't believe in big price tags for primitive skills. That's just not natural!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

2007 Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI) Risk

Second in the Risk Management Series

Here at Earth Connection (EC) we see a lot of lone star ticks. The "fear factor" talk of the camp is about Lyme disease and how many people they know have had it or suffer from its untreated affects. Accusations directed toward the lone star tick is far from the truth though.

FACT: The lone star tick does not transmit Lyme disease.

However, what causes the confusion is campers bitten by lone star ticks will occasionally develop a circular rash similar to the rash of early Lyme disease. The rash may even be accompanied by fatigue, headache, fever, and muscle and joint pains. The cause of this rash and its early Lyme disease like symptoms has not yet been determined; however, studies have shown that is not caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Instead, this condition has been named southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI). In the cases of STARI studied to date, the rash and accompanying symptoms have resolved following treatment with oral antibiotics. STARI has not been linked to any longterm arthritic, neurological, or chronic symptoms like Lyme disease.

The mild 2006-7 winter will bring us lots of these critters this year. I have seen more lone star ticks out at Earth Connection than any other type of tick. Be prepared for an onslaught of insects while attending our classes.

Any tick-borne illness may be prevented by avoiding tick habitat (dense woods and brushy areas), using insect repellents containing DEET or Permethrin, wearing long pants and socks, performing tick checks every 12 hours, and promptly removing ticks after outdoor activity. Persons should monitor their health closely after any tick bite, and should consult their physician if they experience a rash, fever, headache, joint or muscle pains, or swollen lymph nodes with 30 days of a tick bite.

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