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Sheps Center and U.S. Centers for Disease Control Seek Cause of Mysterious Tick Rash

Among the many tick bite-related diseases that exist in North Carolina, one of the most feared is Lyme


Lone Star Tick Map

Disease, a condition that often begins with a growing, target-shaped rash surrounding the site of a tick bite. What many people don’t realize is that this rash, called erythema migrans, is rarely due to Lyme disease in this area. It typically represents a different condition, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI) which comes from the lone star tick and has not been linked to severe symptoms such as those of Lyme disease. Unfortunately, the cause of STARI is unknown and there is currently no test to identify it. The CDC has new molecular identification technology that helps differentiate Lyme from STARI and that they hope will help them identify the cause of the disease and create a test that can be used in medical practice.


….BUT, the CDC can’t use the technology unless they have samples to test! That’s where UNC Sheps Center investigators need help.

If you or another adult you know gets a tick bite and associated rash, we can get you (or them) to a nearby medical professional who will get you a free Lyme Disease test. But you’ll have to enroll in the study which means you will also:

·         Visit the healthcare provider twice

·         Put on your brave face while the medical professional takes two very small skin biopsies, a blood draw, and a urine sample (no biopsies at the 2nd visit)

·         Answer questions about your rash and symptoms

·         Get paid $200 PER VISIT.

If you have a bite-related rash 2+ inches in diameter, contact us to help move science forward!

Rash from Tick Bite

Rash from Tick Bite










Study enrollment ends July 31, 2020