Mystery paralysis in 5-year-old girl linked to tick bite

Pearl Mccarthy
June 13, 2018

- A mother in Grenada, Mississippi, sent out a warning to parents on Facebook after her daughter ended up in the hospital after finding a tick on her head.

Fortunately for Kailyn, she made a quick recovery and is now something of a social media star, Jessica's post having gotten tens of thousands of Facebook reactions and shares. She then took Kailyn to the Medical Center where the doctors ran a number of blood test and took a CT scan.

"PLEASE for the love of god check your kids for ticks!" she wrote.

Kailyn Kirk, 5, who is recovering from a case of tick paralysis. Tick paralysis occurs mostly in the spring and early summer, and is reported more commonly in children, probably due to their smaller body mass. Symptoms tend to appear four to seven days after a tick bite and go away within 24 hours of removing the tick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Scary is a understatement", Griffin said in a post on Facebook. It's more common in children than it is adults! Kailyn woke up and couldn't walk!

Most previous cases of tick paralysis have been reported in children; typically girls, according to a 2012 report on the condition. After the tick has been engorged for multiple days, paralysis usually starts in the lower limbs and works its way up the body, eventually affecting the respiratory system where it can become fatal.

Symptoms usually begin with numbness or tingling, fatigue or weakness.

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"Fortunately, it is relatively rare", said Robbin Lindsay, a research scientist at the Public Health Agency of Canada who specializes in ticks. Some cases in livestock have been caused by the American dog tick, found east of Saskatchewan.

More than 40 tick species worldwide are known to cause tick paralysis.

When the tick is removed, the paralysis goes away.

The main treatment for tick paralysis is completely removing the tick, including all of its mouthparts, since they contain the salivary glands that produce the toxin.

The CDC recommends showering within two hours of coming indoors to reduce the risk of getting Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases. It wasn't until she was brushing Kailyn's hair and pulling it back into a ponytail that she spotted a tick.

Once it was removed, Evelyn was walking the next day.

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