3-Year-Old's Partial Paralysis Has Surprising Cause

Tick bite caused temporary paralysis in little girl
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2017 2:43 PM CDT
3-Year-Old's Partial Paralysis Has Surprising Cause
In this March 24, 2017 photo, veterinarian Bruce Hill displays a tick he found on a dog at the DeWitt Animal Hospital in Plainville, Mass.   (Paul Connors/The Sun Chronicle via AP)

An Oregon family got quite a scare on May 12 when their 3-year-old daughter got fussy around bedtime and had trouble standing. Lantz and Amanda Lewis ended up taking little Evelyn to the ER, panicked, when by the next morning she could barely even crawl or use her arms. Lantz Lewis tells CNN he has a history of a rare type of brain cancer typically found in kids, and his symptoms were similar, "so our minds started going to that." They were relieved—but also alarmed—to discover the true cause of Evelyn's temporary partial paralysis was a tick bite. "This condition is called tick paralysis. It ... can be fatal. I'm glad we took her in when we did and that it wasn't something worse," wrote Amanda in a Facebook video of Evelyn struggling to stand that has been shared nearly 600,000 times so far.

A doctor at the ER found a dog tick attached to Evelyn's head and removed it. Even though dog ticks don't cause Lyme disease, they can cause tick paralysis, which is a result of a toxin in the insect's saliva. Symptoms typically improve after the tick is removed; in Evelyn's case, she was fine by the next day. Lantz says the family had no idea their video, which they originally recorded so they could ask family and friends if they had any idea what was wrong with Evelyn, would go viral. But they hope it raises awareness of a little-known danger: "The doctor said this could be a bad tick year, and the video can help show the symptoms parents should look for." Experts say pet owners should also be on alert, as tick paralysis can also be fatal for dogs, ABC News reports. (Another deadly tick disease has experts issuing dire warnings.)

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