Deer Tick

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Tick Paralysis


Paralysis resulting from a tick byte.

Hard- and soft- bodied female ticks are thought to produce a neurotoxin capable of causing 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 resulting paralysis is ascending (starting in the lower body and moving up). Affected children develop an unsteady gait (ataxia) followed several days later by lower extremity weakness that gradually moves up to involve the upper limbs. Paralysis may cause loss of respiratory ability and ventilatory assistance may become necessary.


American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis)
Rocky Mountain Wood Tick (Dermacentor andersoni)
Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum)

Causative Agent:

Neurotoxin excreted from the tick's salivary gland.


Endemic Area:

Rare reports across the entire United States, including Dutchess County, NY

Incubation Period:

5-7 days

Classic Symptoms:

Flacid paralysis
Tongue and facial paralysis

Lab Test(s):



Removal of the entire tick.

Search the Center for Disease Control, The National Institute of Health or PubMed for more information on Tick Paralysis.

Source: Dutchess County DOH, National Institute of Health








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