This study will evaluate blood and tissue samples for a condition called Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI). This is a skin rash resembling erythema migrans, the rash found in people infected with Lyme disease. In the south and southeastern United States, STARI is associated with the bite of the lone star tick. Researchers seek a better understanding of the cause of STARI. Through researchers' knowledge, diagnostic tests could be developed. NIH is conducting this study along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Patients ages 14 years and older who have recently been diagnosed with possible STARI, who have not taken antibiotics for it longer than 1 day, and whose skin does not form large scars may be eligible for this study. About 20 participants will be enrolled over a 5-year period. Patients will visit the NIH Clinical Center for two or three visits. The first visit may last 2 hours. Photographs will be taken of the rash, and a blood sample of about 1-1/2 tablespoons will be collected for tests. Patients will undergo a punch biopsy of three small pieces of skin, from the rash. The area of the skin will be cleaned, and patients will receive a local anesthetic at the biopsy site. A sharp instrument will remove a round plug of skin, about the size of half a pencil eraser. Patients may feel a pushing sensation, but there should not be pain. The site usually heals without sutures, though the doctors may close it with special adhesive bandages or one or two sutures. Patients will receive instructions about how to take care of the biopsy site. If sutures are used, patients will return in 7 to 10 days to have them removed-or a patient's own doctor may remove the sutures. Patients will return to NIH at 4 to 6 weeks following their first visit. At that time, they will answer questions about how they are doing and donate about 2 tablespoons of blood. Blood and skin samples will be used for research at NIH and CDC.
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Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI) is a rash similar to the rash of Lyme disease that occurs in persons residing in southeastern and south-central states and is associated with the bite of the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum. The cause of the rash is unknown, as it is the natural course of the disease. This protocol aims to investigate the cause of STARI, in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Skin biopsies and blood samples will be taken from patients with suspected STARI and will be used to search for an infectious agent and to develop diagnostic tests for the disease.