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Emergency: requires immediate attention
Tick paralysis
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Emergency: requires immediate attention

Tick paralysis

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Contributors: Michael W. Winter MD, Benjamin L. Mazer MD, MBA, Richard L. Barbano MD, PhD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

Tick paralysis is a rare cause of acute peripheral neuropathy caused by toxin released during a tick bite. A multitude of tick species' bites can result in tick paralysis. In the United States, Dermacentor andersoni and Dermacentor variabilis are the most commonly associated tick species. The true incidence and prevalence of tick paralysis is unknown, but it is a rare complication of tick-borne disease. In addition to the United States, Australia is inhabited by tick species that can cause tick paralysis.

Symptoms onset about 4-7 days following a tick bite. Patients present with paresthesias, fatigue, and occasionally muscle pain. Tick paralysis can progress and result in an ascending paralysis with potential to compromise diaphragmatic control and respiratory drive.

Children and adults are both at risk for tick paralysis. It is slightly more common in children, perhaps due to delayed recognition of a tick bite.

Tick paralysis is typically treatable with removal of the tick. The necessity of medical intervention is largely dependent on the severity of symptoms. Mortality estimates range from approximately 6%-12% of cases.

Codes

ICD10CM:
G83.9 – Paralytic syndrome, unspecified

SNOMEDCT:
74225001 – Tick paralysis

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Last Reviewed: 02/14/2019
Last Updated: 02/14/2019
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Emergency: requires immediate attention
Tick paralysis
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Tick paralysis : Fatigue, Ataxia, Diplopia, Dysarthria, Flaccid paralysis, Ophthalmoplegia, Tick bite, Dysphagia, Paresthesias, Generalized weakness, Hyporeflexia, Hypoxia
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