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.
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.