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December 15, 1951


Author Affiliations

Maryville, Tenn.

JAMA. 1951;147(16):1561-1562. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.73670330008012b

The bite of certain female wood and dog ticks results in a generalized flaccid paralysis, which terminates fatally unless the tick is found and removed. Although this syndrome has been recognized for almost 50 years, a cursory review of the literature indicates that this fact is not generally known. Tick infestation is widespread, but the few case reports come from limited areas, many states never having reported its occurrence.

The following case is presented to call attention to the tick as the possible cause of unexplained ataxia and paralysis and to the fact that its removal results in rapid and complete recovery from an otherwise fatal illness. There have been no other cases reported from Tennessee.

REPORT OF CASE  A healthy 4-year-old girl awoke in the morning with incoordination of both upper and lower extremities. She refused to get out of bed or to feed herself. She did not complain