tick paralysis

Tick paralysis is an unusual but spectacular disease from a medical standpoint. The typical scenario is that a young child (usually a girl, with long hair) begins to suffer strange neurologic symptoms of

  • paralysis that moves from the fingers and toes toward the center of the body (ascending paralysis)
  • ataxia (loss of balance)
  • diminished reflexes
  • and even hypoventilation (breathing difficulty from diaphragm paralysis
The disease mimics the Guilllain-Barré syndrome of ascending paralysis. The mystery is solved when someone - usually the neurologist - makes a careful search of the scalp and removes an engorged tick. Whereupon the child makes a miraculous and complete recovery overnight!

This condition arises when the engorged tick secretes a potent neurotoxin into the child's bloodstream. Remove the tick, the toxin and the paralysis disappear.

There is a summary table of other tick-borne diseases in the United States on another page; see also the general discussion of ticks.

Night, Night! Dr. Hull's Common Sense Sleep Solutions© Copyright© Site Information/Disclaimer