Mum's parasite warning after daughter was left unable to walk

Desiree Burns
June 13, 2018

Griffin said her daughter woke up unable to walk or speak.

It didn't last long, though. Griffin, of Grenada, Mississippi, wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday that seemed a mixture of worry and relief.

Kailyn was taken to University of Mississippi Medical Centre and was able to walk out of hospital after receiving treatment.

Tick paralysis is a rare disease that's thought to be caused by a toxin in tick saliva, according to a 2006 report on the condition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms such as an unsteady gait, muscle weakness, breathing difficulties and flu-like symptoms can occur, with paralysis starting from the lower body and moving up.

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Over several days, this can progress to paralysis that starts in the legs and moves upward, said Lindsay. 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. Doctors told Griffin it was an uncommon condition called tick paralysis. "It's more common in children than it is adults", she wrote last Wednesday.

She had gathered Kailyn's hair to put it in a ponytail when she spotted the tick, embedded in the girl's scalp, swelled with the girl's blood.

And last year, Amanda Lewis woke up and found that her 3-year-old daughter, Evelyn, couldn't stand no matter how hard the little girl tried, according to the La Grande Observer. Some cases in livestock have been caused by the American dog tick, found east of Saskatchewan. Showering when you get home can wash away ticks that haven't attached yet and putting your clothes in a hot dryer will help to kill any ticks that may be caught in them.

"I honestly have never even heard of that before", Griffin said. "Doing thorough and complete tick checks is the way to prevent this infection", Lindsay said. "PLEASE for the love of god check your kids for ticks", she posted.

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