Tick paralysis is a loss of muscle strength and function, resulting from a tick bite. Tick paralysis is not caused by an infectious agent. Instead, it is caused by a chemical substance that attacks the nervous system. This substance is released when the tick bites the human. Most cases of tick paralysis are confined to children.
Symptoms of Tick Paralysis
Symptoms of tick paralysis include:
- Restlessness, weakness, and irritability
- Paralysis that begins in the lower extremities, and moves upward
- Respiratory failure
Diagnosis of Tick Paralysis
Because there are no tests that determine tick paralysis, diagnosis is based on exposure to ticks, as well as whether a tick is found. If a tick is found and removed and symptoms improve, the diagnosis is confirmed.
Treatment for Tick Paralysis
Removal of the tick and symptomatic, supportive care are the only treatments for tick paralysis. Oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation may be necessary if breathing is compromised. As soon as the tick is removed the chemicals no longer enter the body, and symptoms generally improve quickly.