Distributed in south eastern coastal temperate regions from Queensland, New
South Wales and Victoria, the Australian Paralysis Tick secretes a neurotoxin in
its saliva that causes a progressive, and occasionally fatal, paralysis. In some
case a severe hypersensitivity reaction may occur. The tick often goes unnoticed
until weakness or ataxia develop, and is only found during an extensive search
of the body. Sometimes there is a localised paralysis of facial muscles,
although more common is the progressive flaccid paralysis that affects the lower
Prevention is better than cure:
If you know you are going
into tick areas, wear long, light-coloured trousers and tuck them inside tight
socks. You can then keep an eye out for ticks crawling up the outside of your
trouser legs, these can then be brushed off before they get to your skin.
Removal of ticks:
Ticks can be removed in many ways, but you should
always avoid leaving the head behind, as it will become the source of infection.
Never grip the the sac and pull, as this may squeeze more venom into the wound.
Gripping the tick this way may also cause you to leave the head and torso
behind. Never pull the tick out by gripping the end part of the body, as this
will break off and also fail to remove the head and legs. Most people recommend
these days to grip the tick as near to the head as possible with a pair of
pointy tweezers or forceps. Ordinary eyebrow tweezers are not much help, because
the points are too wide. There are other methods of removal, details found by
visiting some of the links listed on this page.