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

Olga D. Taraschenko, Karen M. Powers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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
Volume50
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Fingerprint

Tick Paralysis
Neurotoxins
Ticks
Paralysis
Botulism
Abnormal Reflexes
Skin
Arthropods
Peripheral Nervous System
Acute Disease
Diagnostic Errors
varespladib methyl
Neuroimaging
Toxicology
Cerebrospinal Fluid
Spinal Cord
Hospitalization
Differential Diagnosis
Head
Serum

Keywords

  • 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

Cite this

Neurotoxin-induced paralysis : A case of tick paralysis in a 2-year-old child. / Taraschenko, Olga D.; Powers, Karen M.

In: Pediatric Neurology, Vol. 50, No. 6, 06.2014, p. 605-607.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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