Tick-Borne Illnesses in North Carolina

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Ticks are dangerous because they can easily transmit a number of different diseases to people and animals. Ticks are prevalent throughout North Carolina. You can pick up ticks in your backyard, in the local parks or when you visit a camping or hunting area. Since ticks have such a big presence in the state, it is important to be aware of the different illnesses that they can transmit to you.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Although the name sounds like it is an illness that is occurs primarily in the western states, North Carolina actually has the highest number of reported cases most years. The American dog tick, the brown dog tick and the Rocky Mountain wood tick. This illness starts with general aches and pains that beginning between three days to two weeks after the bite. A fever will start and then a spotted rash will appear on the wrists and ankles that can spread up the arms. This needs to be treated by a doctor.


This illness is caused by the Lone Star tick. It is a bacterial illness that causes a headache, muscle aches, a fever and fatigue. It may also cause people to have stomach issues like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, along with a cough, confusion and possibly a rash. This is a serious illness and nearly half of the people who have it end up in the hospital. The symptoms usually start one or two weeks after being bitten.


STARI stands for Southern-Tick Associated Rash Illness. This is actually one of the milder illnesses that you can get from a tick. This is also caused by the Lone Star tick. It starts by a bull’s eye rash that will spread out from the spot of the bite. The main symptom is the rash, but you do need to go on antibiotics to clear the rash up.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a well-known tick-borne illness. It is caused by a bite from the blacklegged tick. The symptoms include aches and pains with a possible fever. The rash is a bull’s eye, rash, but it does not occur in about twenty percent of the population that end up with Lyme disease. The symptoms will steadily get worse until they become debilitating. If you wait too long to be treated some of the symptoms may be permanent. If you have any symptoms after a tick bite, you should visit your doctor. He can verify if you have Lyme disease and have you begin a treatment with antibiotics.