Can a tick really paralyze a person?

Mum's parasite warning after daughter was left unable to walk

In the us state of MS a five year old girl lost the ability to walk and talk after a tick bite to the head.

The mother said she noticed the tick when she went to brush Kailyn's hair and shared a photo of the red mark on her scalp to Facebook.

She said that her daughter went to bed "perfectly fine" the night before, but last Wednesday when she woke her up for daycare things took a "scary turn".

"PLEASE for the love of god check your kids for ticks!" she posted, in part. Griffin initially thought the girl's legs were asleep, but took her to the hospital when she was unable to speak coherently.

Fun and laughter aside, Jessica wants her readers to be aware that tick paralysis is both real and risky. Tick paralysis occurs mostly in the spring and early summer, and is reported more commonly in children, probably due to their smaller body mass. Symptoms tend to appear four to seven days after a tick bite and go away within 24 hours of removing the tick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Still, Griffin felt alarmed enough to post the warning.

Women and children are most at risk.

She pulled the tick out and placed it in a plastic bag, then rushed to the hospital with Kailyn, WTXL reported.

The paralysis is "ascending", which means it starts in the lower body and moves up, the NIH says.

After a female tick feeds for five to seven days, the toxin builds up in a person's system.

Tick paralysis is caused by a neurotoxin produced in the parasite's salivary gland.

Which ticks can cause paralysis? Most diagnosed patients recover within 24 hours, and there are typically no long-term problems afterward.

More: Should I burn a tick off?

The main treatment for tick paralysis is completely removing the tick, including all of its mouthparts, since they contain the salivary glands that produce the toxin.

Several other diseases are associated with ticks, the most well-known include Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

But human children are also susceptible due to their smaller body mass. Girls get tick paralysis more frequently because the ticks can easily hide in a mass of hair, according to the foundation.

Once it was removed, Evelyn was walking the next day.



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