Five-year-old Ohio girl left temporarily paralyzed after being bitten by ticks


  • A five-year-old girl was diagnosed by Cincinnati doctors with a rare disease that caused her to be paralyzed and unable to swallow.
  • The disease is called ‘tick paralysis’ which results from getting bitten by ticks where toxins are present in their saliva.
  • The CDC said that symptoms of this disease include numbness in the legs followed by acute paralysis; the disease can be deadly when left unchecked because it can affect the lungs making it difficult for the person to breathe.

A five-year-old Ohio girl who was bitten by ticks suffered temporary paralysis and difficulties in swallowing, according to Fox 19 reports.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital doctors diagnosed Avery Mell with a rare disease called “tick paralysis” that is believed to be caused by toxins coming from the saliva of the insects.

Symptoms of this disease include tingling and numbness and possibly followed by “acute, ascending flaccid paralysis”, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  In rare cases, the disease can also be fatal because it can affect the lungs causing the person unable to breathe. These symptoms are likely to disappear within 24 hours upon removal of the offending ticks.

After noticing that something was seriously wrong with her daughter who previously had fallen face first in their bathroom, the mother, Sami Mell, took her to the hospital ICU.

Initially, doctors were unable to diagnose her, but the mother who felt a lump in the girl’s hair found two dog ticks on her head and behind her ear.

The girl was placed by doctors in an incubator because she had difficulties swallowing on her own and was choking on her saliva. Even her lungs briefly stopped working at one point.

“She couldn’t feed herself,” related Mell. “They were prepared for her lungs not to work on her own.”

The girl’s condition immediately began to improve after the bugs were removed. Later, she was released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Mells’s grandfather, Dave Goslin, told Fox 32 that the “infectious disease doctor of 30 years said he’s never seen nothing like it.”

While the mother said she doesn’t know where the ticks that bit her daughter came from, she advised parents to regularly check their children after spending time outdoors.


Source: Newsweek

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