Unvaccinated boy is 1st tetanus case in his state in decades: CDC

Kenny Tucker
March 12, 2019

Anti-vax OR boy had a near death experience as he witnessed a life threatening bacterial infection of Tetanus which nearly took his life away.

In the case in OR, the boy cut himself on the forehead while playing, and his family stitched up the wound themselves.

St. Luke's Work Well Clinic Medical Assistant Crissy Parmeter gives a tetanus shot to an Iowa resident at the St. Luke's Work Well Clinic June 16, 2008 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Bacterial spores found in soil can enter the body through skin disruption, with subsequent onset of clinical illness ranging from 3 to 21 days (usually within 8 days). It was the first instance of the life-threatening neuromuscular disease in a child in OR in more than three decades.

"He was really sick and it was really hard to watch", Guzman-Cottrill told Stat News.

An image taken in 1995 and released by the Centers for Disease Control shows a group of Clostridium tetani bacteria, responsible for causing tetanus in humans.

Within six days of receiving the cut, which was cleaned and sutured at home, the boy began episodes of muscle spasms and jaw clenching, followed by opisthotonus, arching of the neck and back.

Later that day, the boy started having trouble breathing, and his parents contacted emergency medical services, who air-transported him to a pediatric medical center.

During his time at the hospital, the boy requested water but couldn't drink it because of his lockjaw. Doctors inserted a tube in his windpipe so a ventilator could help with his breathing, and treated him with neuromuscular-blocking drugs to reduce his muscle spasms.

Anti-vax Oregano boy witnesses a near death experience the first ever tetanus infection case
Oregano boy witnesses a near death experienceSource NY Daily News

He was also placed in a dark room with ear plugs, which helped reduce the intensity of his spasms.

As his back and neck spasming worsened, the boy developed a racing heartbeat, high blood pressure, and a fever of 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Later he contracted tetanus and spent months recovering, at one point unable to breathe on his own.

After spending 57 days in the hospital, the child was moved to a rehabilitation center where he regained the ability to walk, run and bike within 17 days.

All told, the boy's treatment totaled more than $US800,000 in care costs. And that didn't include costs for air transport, rehab and any follow-up costs.

"This is an terrible disease, but. we have had a mechanism to completely prevent it, and the reason that we have virtually no cases anymore in the United States is because we vaccinate, literally, everyone".

Becoming infected with tetanus doesn't make someone immune for life - and a person can be infected multiple times if not vaccinated.

Luckily, most children today are vaccinated against tetanus, and infections are extremely rare: According to the CDC report, routine vaccination and the use of immune globulin to treat wounds has led to a 95% reduction in tetanus cases and a 99% reduction in tetanus-related deaths since the 1940s.

In this particular case, however, the boy had not received his tetanus vaccine, or any other recommended vaccinations for that matter. Despite the near death experience of the boy, his Anti-vax family has chosen not to get him vaccinated any further. Tetanus is preventable with a tetanus vaccine, and widespread immunization has lead to a 95% decline in the number of tetanus cases in the United States since the 1940s, according to the CDC. Find out at the CDC's immunization schedules page.

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