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Tick species of the genera Dermacentor and Ixodes can cause a disease known as Tick Paralysis that appears primarily in young children (Service 2008). There have been human cases from many parts of the world, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and southern Africa. Domestic animals are also infected. Toxins in the female tick's saliva that are continuously injected into a host while the tick continues to feed cause the disease.
The symptoms resemble poliomyelitis and show up after 4 to 7 days following the bite of a tick, with young children being especially vulnerable. This is followed by an gradual paralysis in the legs disabling walking or standing. Afterwards the arms are paralyzed and other functions such as talking, swallowing and breathing are curtailed. These symptoms are painless but there may be a fever. Mortality is rare in humans but more apt to occur in animals from respiratory failure. The severity of symptoms varies with different species and/or populations of ticks (Service 2008).
Removing the ticks usually gives complete recovery after two days, but severe cases require longer.
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