Tick Paralysis

Below you will find more information about Tick Paralysis from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Tick Paralysis it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with Tick Paralysis and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to Tick Paralysis comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.


Tick paralysis is the only tick-borne disease that is not due to an infectious organism. The illness is the result of a neurotoxin produced in the tick's salivary gland. After prolonged attachment, the engorged tick releases the toxin to its host.


Diagnosis is based on symptoms and upon finding an embedded tick, often on the scalp. In the absence of a tick, the differential diagnosis includes botulism and Guillain-Barre syndrome.


Removal of the embedded tick usually leads to the resolution of symptoms within several hours to days. If the tick is not removed, the toxin can be fatal, with reported mortality rates of 10-12 percent, usually because of respiratory paralysis.

Symptoms and Signs

Tick paralysis arises from inoculation of a toxin from tick salivary glands during a blood meal. The toxin causes symptoms within 2-7 days, beginning with weakness in both legs that develops to paralysis. The paralysis ascends to trunk, arms, and head within hours and may cause respiratory failure and death. The disease can occur as acute ataxia without muscle weakness.


Tick paralysis is thought to be due to toxins found in the tick's saliva that enter the bloodstream while the tick is feeding.

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