Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI)
Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI) is a Lyme disease-like illness that produces an expanding circular skin rash (erythema migrans) at the site of attachment from the lone star tick within approximately seven days. Lone star ticks are commonly found in Oklahoma, and are known to aggressively bite humans. It has been described in patients in the southeastern and south-central states, including Oklahoma. This illness is indistinguishable from the early stages of Lyme disease. The rash may be accompanied by a mild illness characterized by fever, generalized fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain. STARI is not listed specifically as a reportable disease/condition, but it is uncommon and should be reported to the Acute Disease Service within one business day.
An etiologic agent has not yet been definitively identified; therefore there are no commercial laboratory tests to test patients for this illness. It is still unclear as to whether antibiotic treatment is necessary or beneficial for patients diagnosed with STARI. Nevertheless, physicians often treat patients with oral antibiotics as the illness so closely resembles Lyme disease. Contact your physician if you think you might have STARI, or any symptoms of illness that develop within two weeks of tick exposure. Prevention measures for STARI are similar to other tickborne diseases: avoid tick-infested areas, frequently check to identify and remove ticks properly, and use tick repellant when indicated.
External STARI Resources: