File:  <tickparalysis.htm>                                            <Medical Index>     <General Index>          Site Description       Glossary    <Navigate to Home> 







Please CLICK on Image & underlined links for details:


       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).


       Primarily responsible in North America are Dermacentor andersoni and D. variabilis.


       Removing the ticks usually gives complete recovery after two days, but severe cases require longer.


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

 Key References:     <medvet.ref.htm>    <Hexapoda>


Bequaert, J.  1931.  Synopsis des tiques du Congo belge.  Rev. Zool. Bot. Afr. 20:  209-251.

Bequaert, J.  1946.  The ticks or Ixodoidea of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.  Entomologica Americana 25:


Bishopp, F. C.  1935.  Ticks and the role they play in the transmission of diseases.  Rept. Smithsonian Inst. for 1933, pp. 389-406.

Bishopp, F. C. & H. P. Wood.  1913.  The biology of some North American ticks of the genus Dermacentor.  Parasitology 6:  153-187.

Camicas, J. L., J. . Hervy, F. Adam & P. C. Morel.  1998.  The ticks of the world (Acarida, Ixodida):  Nomenclature, Described Stages,

     Hosts,Distribution.  Paris: Editions de l'ORSTOM.

Dumler, J. S. & D. H. Walker.  2005.  Rocky mountain spotted fever: changing ecology and persisting virulence.  New England J. of

     Medicine 353:  551-53.

Ferguson, E. W.  1924.  Deaths from tick paralysis in human beings.  Med. J. Australia 2(14):  346-348.

Fielding, J. W.  1926.  Astralasian ticks.  Ser. Publ. (trop. Div.) Australia Dept. Hlth., No. 9.

Gammons, M. & G. Salam.  2002.  Tick removal.  Amer. Fam. Physician 66:  643-45.

Gothe, R., K. Kunze & H. Hoogstraal.  1979.  The mechanisms of pathogenicity in the tick paralyses.  J. Med. Ent. 16:  357-69.

Hadwen, S.  1913.  On "tick paralysis" in sheep and man following bites of Dermacentor venustus, with notes of the biology of the tick. 

     Parasitology 6:  283-297.

Hoogstraal, H.  1966.  Ticks in relation to human diseases caused by viruses.  Ann. Rev. Ent. 11:  261-308.

Hoogstraal, H.  1967.  Ticks in relation to human diseases caused by Rickettsia species.  Ann. Rev. Ent. 12:  377-420.

Lewis, E. A.  1934.  A study of the ticks of Kenya Colony.  Bull. Dept. Agr. Kenya, No. 7.

Lewis, E. A.  1939.  The ticks of East Africa.  Emp. J. Expt. Agr. 7(27:  261-270; 7(28):  299-394.

Mail, G. A. & J. D. Gregson.  1938.  Tick paralysis in British Columbia.  J. Canad. Med. Assoc. 39:  532-537.

Matheson, R. 1950.  Medical Entomology.  Comstock Publ. Co, Inc.  610 p.

McCormack, P. D.  1921.  Paralysis in children due to the bites of wood ticks.  J. Amer. Med. Assoc. 77:  260-263.

Needham, G. R. & P. D. Teel.  1991.  Off-host physiological ecology of ixodid ticks.  Ann. Rev. Ent. 36:  313-52.

Parola, P. & D. Raoult.  2001.  Tick-borne typhuses.  IN:  The Encyclopedia of arthropod-transmitted Infections of Man and

     Domesticated Animals. (ed.) M. W. Service, Wallingford: CABI:  pp. 516-24.

Service, M.  2008.  Medical Entomology For Students.  Cambridge Univ. Press.  289 p.

Sonenshine, D. E., R. S. Lane & W. L. Nicholson. 2002.  Ticks (Ixodida).  IN:  Medical & Veterinary Entomology, ed. G. Mullen & L. Durden,  Ambsterdam Acad.

Sonenshine, D. E. & T. N. Mather (eds.)  1994.  Ecological Dynamics of Tick-Borne Zoonoses.  Oxford Univ. Press, New York.Press

        pp 517-58.