Encyclopedia of Parasitology

Living Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn

Ticks: Tick Paralysis

  • Heinz Mehlhorn
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27769-6_4907-1

The disease described as tick paralysis is an ascending motor paralysis, which is induced by a partial, increasing neurotransmission due to the apparent blockade of ion channels involved in the depolarization of nerves. This disease represents a peculiar polyneuropathy, which starts shortly after the beginning of the tick’s blood meal, spreads to the upper limbs and causes incoordination of movements and may lead (as consequence of bites of some tick species) to respiratory failure and/or even may lead to death.

The following ixodid ticks are especially known for their high-graded toxic saliva and their introduction of the so-called tick-paralysis: Ixodes holocyclus (Australia), Ixodes scapularis, Dermacentor variabilis, Amblyomma americanum (North America), Amblyomma cajannense (South America), Ixodes ricinus (Europe), and Rhipicephalus sanguineus(worldwide). Besides ixodid ticks also argasid ticks have been identified to produce toxins and to disseminate them during injection of...


North America Respiratory Failure Blood Coagulation Blood Meal Tick Species 
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Further Reading

  1. Cabezas-Cruz A, Valdes JJ (2014) Are ticks venomous animals? Front Zool 11:47CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Estrada-Pena A, Mans BJ (2013) Tick paralysis and toxicosis. In: Sonenshine DE et al (eds) Biology of ticks, vol 2, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Mans BJ et al (2004) Biochemical perspectives on paralysis and other forms of toxicosis caused by ticks. Parasitology 129:S95–S111CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Zoomorphologie, Zellbiologie und ParasitologieHeinrich-Heine-UniversitätDüsseldorfGermany