Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms

Tick Bite Paralysis Overview

Another name for Tick Bite Paralysis is Tick Paralysis.

What is tick paralysis?
A person with tick paralysis has muscle weakness, caused by a tick bite. When the tick attaches to the body, tick saliva can enter the bloodstream. The longer the tick is attached to the skin, the more saliva can enter the bloodstream. A substance in the saliva is toxic to nerves that stimulate muscles to contract. The substance blocks the normal action of the nerves, which results in muscle weakness. Tick paralysis is very rare, and seems to occur only in children.

What are the symptoms of tick paralysis?
Initial symptoms of tick paralysis may include headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. Symptoms of worsening tick paralysis include leg weakness, arm weakness, difficulty walking, and poor balance. Severe tick paralysis results in difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing.

How does the doctor treat tick paralysis?
Treatment of tick paralysis involves removal of the tick. After the tick is removed, symptoms resolve quickly.

Continue to Tick Bite Paralysis Symptoms

Last Updated: Oct 5, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Tick Bite Paralysis References
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  4. Purvis JJ, Edwards MS. Doxycycline use for rickettsial disease in pediatric patients. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2000 Sep;19(9):871-4. [11001111]
  5. Sexton DJ, Kaye KS. Rocky Mountain spotted fever: a clinician's dilemma. Arch Intern Med. 2003 Apr 14;163(7):769-74. [12695267]
  6. Treadwell TA, Holman RC, Clarke MJ, Krebs JW, Paddock CD, Childs JE. Rocky Mountain spotted fever in the United States, 1993-1996. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2000 Jul-Aug;63(1-2):21-6. [11357990]
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