Earlier this month at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, a 5 year old Ohio girl by the name of Averey Mell was admitted with complaints of being unable to eat independently and was reportedly having trouble breathing on her own.
Her mother – Sami Mell informed that before rushing to the hospital she had taken her to several doctors for diagnosis. The doctors were unsure what was sickening the young girl. It was sometime later only that she happened to find two Dogwood ticks hiding behind her daughter’s ear which were already the size of a quarter.
Mell further asserted that her daughter improved shortly after the ticks were removed. She is of the opinion that it is quite likely that the ticks must have got attached themselves to the girl as she played outside.
According to the American Lyme Disease Foundation – The 5-year-old was suffering from tick paralysis. This disease is primarily caused in North America by five tick species. They further explained that tick paralysis occurs when an engorged and gravid (egg-laden) female tick produces a neurotoxin in its salivary glands. It then transmits it to its host during feeding. Experiments in the past indicate that the highest amount of toxin gets produced between the fifth and seventh day of attachment.
Fatigue, numbness of the legs and muscle pains are the major symptoms of the disease. Usually paralysis starts developing from the lower to the upper extremities. If the tick is not removed on time then it is followed by tongue and facial paralysis. In severe cases this condition can cause convulsions or respiratory failure. In a rare case a death could also occur. Once the parasite is removed then the symptoms start diminishing rapidly. The toxin can only be extracted when the tick is attached to its host.
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