Tick paralysis is the only tick-borne disease that is not caused by an infectious organism. The illness is caused by a neurotoxin produced in the tick's salivary gland. After prolonged attachment, the engorged tick transmits the toxin to its host. The incidence of tick paralysis is unknown.
* Restlessness * Irritability * Clumsiness * Lethargy * Loss of appetite
Hard- and soft-bodied female ticks are believed to make a poison that can cause paralysis in children. Ticks attach to the skin to feed on blood. It is during this feeding process that the toxin enters the bloodstream. The paralysis is ascending -- that means it starts in the lower body and moves up. It is similar to that seen in Guillain-Barre syndrome and opposite that seen in botulism and paralytic shellfish poisoning.
Use insect repellents and protective clothing when out in tick-infested areas. Carefully check the skin after being outside and remove any ticks. As a rule, if children are discovered to have ticks, it is a good idea to write the information down and keep it for several months. Many tick-borne diseases do not show symptoms immediately, and the incident may be forgotten by the time a child becomes sick with a tick-borne disease
The person will have been exposed to ticks in some way. For example, he or she may have been on a recent camping trip, live in a tick-infested area, or have dogs or other animals that can pick up ticks. Often the tick is found only after thoroughly searching the person's hair. Finding a tick embedded in the skin and noting above symptoms confirms the diagnosis. No other testing is required.
Full recovery is expected following the removal of the tick.
Removing the tick removes the source of the neurotoxin. Recovery is rapid following the removal of the tick.