Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
To everyone who helped me and my family through our emergency last week by picking up or switching shifts, we thank you so very much! Also thanks to all that kept Alyssa in your thoughts and prayers and called to
Alyssa is 100% back to her old self and if you looked at her now you never would have known that she was ever sick. For those of you with small children or one on the way, here's a synopsis of what happened to that you can watch out for it with your own children.
On Tuesday morning she woke up paralyzed from her waist down, she wasn't able to walk or stand on her own. I called the Eglin pediatrics nurses line and told them what was going on and they told me to wait
They told us that she had Ataxia, with no explanation as to what that is, and set us up for an appointment for the following day with pediatrics. If you Google Ataxia, you'll understand why we were so devastated. The short version is that it is a disease with no cure, she would be wheel-chair bound the rest of her life and would never see her 20's.
On Wednesday morning she woke up paralyzed from her neck down. She couldn't even sit without being propped up by pillows and blankets. Her eyes were also fully dilated and she would stare off into nothing for long periods of time. No amount of clapping or calling out her name would snap her back. We went back to Eglin's ER and we were ambulanced to the children's hospital in Pensacola. After
So in this area, particularly during this season check you kids for ticks regularly. Use insect repellant if you're going out into wooded areas and all that good stuff. A good rule of thumb that one of the nurses in
Again thank you to everyone for helping us through this, and I hope this information can help you keep your kids safe!
Origins: The letter quoted above began circulating on the Internet in June 2006. While we do not know the particulars of the incident it recounts and so can't confirm that it chronicles an actual event, what it describes is consonant with similar cases mentioned in medical literature:
On April 10, 1995, a 2-year-old girl who resided in Asotin County, Washington, was taken to the emergency department of a regional hospital because of a
Within several hours of hospitalization, she had onset of drooling and tachypnea. A nurse incidentally detected an engorged tick on the girl's hairline by an ear and removed the tick. Within
A 7-year-old girl was taken to her physician for evaluation of acute, ascending motor paralysis and speech difficulties. The girl's parents indicated that she had no history of motor difficulties and that the current symptoms developed quite rapidly. The family lived in a rural area, and the child often played in the woods accompanied by her pet dog. Results of laboratory investigations were not remarkable. A single engorged female tick was found attached to the girl's neck, and it was determined that the child had tick paralysis. Speech and motor function improved rapidly after the tick was removed, and the child recovered within hours and without complications.
The resulting paralysis is ascending (starting in the lower body and moving up) and is similar to that seen in Guillain-Barre syndrome and opposite that seen in botulism and paralytic shellfish poisoning (descending).
Affected children develop an unsteady gait (ataxia) followed several days later by lower extremity weakness that gradually moves up to involve the upper limbs. Paralysis may cause loss of respiratory ability and the patient may require a ventilator.
- history of exposure to ticks such as camping, a tick-infested area, dogs or other animals
- finding a tick attached at the back of the neck at the hairline
- unsteady jerky body movements and gait (ataxia)
- muscle weakness beginning in the lower extremities and progressing upwards
- breathing difficulties
- Tick paralysis is not ataxia.
- Ataxia (incoordination) is one of the effects of tick paralysis (in the same way that vomiting is one of the effects of food poisoning).
- Ataxia (disease: hereditary or sporadic) is unrelated to tick paralysis.
|National Ataxia Foundation|
Kocan, A. Alan "Tick Paralysis." Oklahoma State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. 1 June 1988. CDC: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. "Tick Paralysis — Washington, 1995." 26 April 1996.