Tick paralysis: atypical presentation, unusual location

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2005 Oct;21(10):677-80. doi: 10.1097/01.pec.0000181414.18612.24.


We present 2 unrelated cases of tick paralysis presenting within a 2-month period in the greater Philadelphia region, a geographic area in which this disease is highly unusual. Our first patient demonstrated early onset of prominent bulbar palsies, an atypical presentation. Our second patient, residing in a nearby but distinct community, presented with ascending paralysis 2 months after the first. The atypical presentation of our first patient and the further occurrence within a few months of a second patient, both from the Northeastern United States where this diagnosis is rarely made, suggest the need to maintain a high index of suspicion for this disease in patients presenting with acute onset of cranial nerve dysfunction or muscle weakness. Through simple diagnostic and therapeutic measures (ie, careful physical examination to locate and remove the offending tick), misdiagnosis and unnecessary morbidity can be avoided.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ataxia / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermacentor
  • Diplopia / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Tick Paralysis / complications
  • Tick Paralysis / diagnosis*