Specialists of 30 years had never seen a case like 5-year-old Averey Mell's before

By Georgia Slater
August 16, 2019 02:58 PM
Courtesy Sami Mell

In an effort to make parents more aware of tick dangers, an Ohio mother is sharing the frightening experience of her 5-year-old daughter who was nearly paralyzed by a tick-related illness.

Sara Mell, found two Dogwood ticks “the size of a quarter” on her daughter Averey’s head and behind her ear, reported a local FOX outlet. When Mell took Averey to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, she said her daughter’s condition “baffled doctors” who had never seen it before, including an infectious disease doctor of 30 years.

Averey was diagnosed by specialists with tick paralysis, though her mother is uncertain exactly where she picked up the ticks.

“It could have been at East Fork, it could have been in our backyard,” said Mell.

Tick Paralysis, according to the CDC is “a rare disease caused by a toxin in tick saliva.”

“The symptoms include acute, ascending, flaccid paralysis that is often confused with other neurologic disorders or diseases. Within 24 hours of removing the tick, the paralysis typically subsides.”

Fox 19

After the doctors removed the ticks, Averey’s health began to stabilize, but her symptoms were so bad it was possible that she could have stopped breathing.

“I fell face first into the bathroom,” Averey told FOX.

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“She couldn’t feed herself, she got to the point where she couldn’t breathe on her own,” Mell added. “They were prepared for her lungs not to work on her own.”

After the doctors removed the ticks, Averey’s health began to stabilize, according to FOX.

She returned home from the hospital Tuesday, and fortunately shows no signs of side effects. The child was also advised to see a neurologist for a follow-up.

When children are finished playing outside, Mell suggests that all parents check their kids for ticks in the hopes that this situation is not repeated.

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