Tick Tocsins :

Tick Paralysis
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Lyme Disease


 Today people travel. There are realities beyond your own.


Tick Paralysis . Both Rocky and Appalacian Mountain ticks can transmit an infection which produces facial numbness and tingling (which may also be experienced in the hands). A "bulbar  palsy" pattern evolves (paralysis of orofacial and neck musculature).

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a tick born disease that is NOT (any longer) limited to the Rocky Mountains. It is found just about anywhere in North America. Almost every detail can vary, but  commonly a deep red nasty red area is at the bite area initially. Severe headache and generalized muscle pains present as the disease goes systemic. A rash might occur and spots on the palms or soles (very rare in any other disease) as well as on the body and legs. The liver and spleen swell. The disease can mimic measles and meningitis and be confused with other systemic diseases as well.

Lyme Disease is a huge disease in New Jersey and is also seen in the surrounding states. It has so many faces,  manners of presentation, that it very frequently goes undiagnosed. The screening tests for the disease are actually quite poor, so much so that we recommend the definitive tests as the first tests. There is  such across the board similarity of Lyme Disease with "Pauciarticular arthritis" that we in New Jersey  wonder if there is actually such a disease as pauciarticular arthritis. Perhaps that, too, is just a form of Lyme type arthritis. The classical rash is actually not so reliable as many just don't get it.

In any event, Pauci=few articular=joints. Assymmetric and fleeting or migratory joint pain is quite typical of the overt cases. More difficult is the single suddenly swollen joint. The biggest clue, clinically, is a child not as distressed nor as ill as would be expected if the joint were infected by staph or  strep, or even if involved with full blown rheumatism. The joint is restricted in range but not brutally painful in small arcs as is so with an otherwise infected joint.

There are so many other presentations.  Children with odd "migraine", or so it is thought, kids with loss of energy, even kids with visual problems. Sacroiliac joint inflammation, in our region, is quite likely to be Lyme disease. Interestingly,  such a case presented to a visiting world famous expert in rheumatism from the west failed to get Lyme even on the list of possibilities. That omission of consideration is common when persons travel.

Lyme is not alone in ability to produce joint aches. Mononucleosis can and does do it. Giardia (from sewage into lakes etc.) has caused outbreaks of kids with belly cramps and sore joints. In fact, cramps and joint ache beg for stool examination.

A bit off the subject:

There are other parasitic infestations that cause muscle and joint pain. Some of them are from undercooked foods, especially meats. Toxoplasmosis, in addition to being able to cause various mild ills which may be passed off as flu or the trots, can cause severe damage to the fetus. Pregnant women ought to be kept clear of cats and other sources of such organism transmission. Hydrocephalus is a known complication of in utero toxoplasmosis.