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November 1969

Tick Paralysis Without Muscle Weakness

Author Affiliations

Oklahoma City
From the departments of pediatrics and neurology (Dr. Lagos) and physiology (Dr. Thies), Children's Memorial Hospital, University of Oklahoma Medical Center, Oklahoma City.

Arch Neurol. 1969;21(5):471-474. doi:10.1001/archneur.1969.00480170043004

TICK PARALYSIS, a disease of man and animals, has been recognized as a clinical entity since the beginning of the 19th century. Captain William Hovell, while traveling through Australia, wrote in 1824 of "the small insect called the tick, which buries itself in the flesh, and would in the end destroy either man or beast if not removed in time."1 Todd2 reported the first cases of tick paralysis in man in North America. As of 1965, approximately 350 cases had been reported in the United States and Canada with a mortality of about 12%3 The disease is seen worldwide and is endemic in the southeastern and northwestern regions of the United States and in western Canada.4 Certain ticks of the species Dermacentor andersoni and D variabilis elaborate a toxic substance which can give rise to an acute ascending flaccid paralysis that can end

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