Neurotoxin-induced paralysis: A case of tick paralysis in a 2-year-old child

Olga D. Taraschenko, Karen M. Powers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background Tick paralysis is an arthropod-transmitted disease causing potentially lethal progressive ascending weakness. The presenting symptoms of tick paralysis overlap those of acute inflammatory diseases of the peripheral nervous system and spinal cord; thus, the condition is often misdiagnosed, leading to unnecessary treatments and prolonged hospitalization. Patient A 2-year-old girl residing in northern New York and having no history of travel to areas endemic to ticks presented with rapidly progressing ascending paralysis, hyporeflexia, and intact sensory examination. Investigation included blood and serum toxicology screens, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, and brain imaging. With all tests negative, the child's condition was initially mistaken for botulism; however, an engorged tick was later found attached to the head skin. Following tick removal, the patient's weakness promptly improved with no additional interventions. Conclusion Our patient illustrates the importance of thorough skin examination in all cases of acute progressive weakness and the necessity to include tick paralysis in the differential diagnosis of paralysis, even in nonendemic areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-607
Number of pages3
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • ascending paralysis
  • botulism
  • dermacentor variabilis
  • neuromuscular
  • tick paralysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Neurotoxin-induced paralysis: A case of tick paralysis in a 2-year-old child'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this