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Tick paralysis

Up ADEM Brain abscess Brain death Cerebral oedema Cerebral tumours CVT CVA Coma Cord compression Delirium Encephalitis Guillain Barre syndrome ICU acquired weakness ICH Meningitis Myasthenia gravis Periodic paralysis Nerve lesions SAH Status epilepticus Subdural empyema SjO2 Tick paralysis Transverse myelitis Weakness

  • Caused by prolonged attachment (5-7 days) of certain ticks (over 40 species). Due to neurotoxic substances produced by salivary glands of engorged ticks
  • Occurs most often in children but may affect adults
  • Characterized by ascending paralysis but patients may present with ataxia or respiratory distress
  • CSF normal
  • Diagnosis depends on history of tick bite or finding a tick on the body of a patient
  • Removal of tick leads to rapid recovery within 24 h
  • Mortality of up to 10% has been reported

Further reading

P. Parola and D. Raoult. Ticks and tickborne bacterial diseases in humans: an emerging infectious threat. Clin.Infect.Dis 32:897-928, 2001.



©Charles Gomersall, February, 2015 unless otherwise stated. The author, editor and The Chinese University of Hong Kong take no responsibility for any adverse event resulting from the use of this webpage.
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