Mother issues warning after MS girl diagnosed with ‘tick paralysis’

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Jessica Griffin posted to Facebook on Wednesday saying that her daughter Kailyn woke up that morning unable to walk and struggling to speak. She has been such a champ throughout this whole ordeal! It's more common in children than it is adults! When she brushed Kailyn's hair, she saw it: a tick had latched on to the girl's scalp.

To prevent tick bites, experts urge anyone spending time in wooded or grassy areas to wear insect repellant, socks, hats, long trousers, and long sleeves.

Tick paralysis is thought be caused by a toxin in tick saliva, according to the Centers for Disease and Control.

The post, which received over 107,000 reactions and 414,000 shares, was followed by a photo of Kailyn walking out of the hospital with "Get Well" balloons.

Symptoms do not start right away, but typically start to appear after the tick has been feeding on the person or animal for four to seven days.

In Canada, tick species that can cause paralysis are found mostly in Southern British Columbia and Manitoba, but other species, like known Lyme-disease carriers blacklegged ticks, are aggressively expanding into new territory, even urban areas.

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Fortunately, tick paralysis is easy to treat: simply remove the tick and the symptoms will subside with 12 to 24 hours - that is, if you remove the tick properly.

"Once the tick is found and removed, recovery is very rapid", said Robbin Lindsay, a Public Health Agency of Canada research scientist who specializes in ticks. Some cases in livestock have been caused by the American dog tick, found east of Saskatchewan.

Kailyn Kirk, 5, who is recovering from a case of tick paralysis.

"I was just thinking that her legs were asleep until I noticed that she couldn't hardly talk", Ms Griffin wrote.

To protect yourself from tick bites, stay on the trail, wear light-coloured clothing and wear an insect repellant containing DEET or icaridin. It wasn't until she was brushing Kailyn's hair and pulling it back into a ponytail that she spotted a tick. "Doing thorough and complete tick checks is the way to prevent this infection", Lindsay said.

After this incident, Jessica Griffin warned other parents about the danger and urged them to check their children for ticks. She included two photos in her post, which were the tick in Kailyn's head and the removed tick in a plastic bag.