CDC: Unvaccinated boy diagnosed with tetanus, hospitalized almost 2 months

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This is the first case of a child contracting tetanus in more than 30 years in the USA state. Now, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released details about an unvaccinated boy who contracted tetanus.

The report states the 6-year-old contracted the bacterial disease in 2017 after sustaining a forehead laceration while playing outside on a farm. He went home and had his wounds cleaned and sutured.

Less than a week later (approximately 6 days), the boy began exhibiting symptoms of tetanus, including "jaw clenching, and involuntary upper extremity muscle spasms, followed by arching of the neck and back", according to the report. It was the first instance of the life-threatening neuromuscular disease in a child in OR in more than three decades.

According to NBC News, Dr. Carl Eriksson had informed it via an email that when Anti-vax OR boy was admitted into the hospital he was alert. "Physicians have all read about tetanus, and we have seen pictures of people suffering from tetanus".

The doctors diagnosed the boy with tetanus and prescribed him to stay in the hospital for about eight weeks.

Upon admission, the boy was still conscious and asked for water, but the "lockjaw" of tetanus rendered him unable to open his mouth. His blood pressure had to be controlled. A tube was placed down his windpipe and he was hooked up to a machine that helped his breathing.

All in all, this first totally preventable pediatric case in OR in more than three decades required 57 days of inpatient acute care, including 47 days in the intensive care unit.

By the time he was transferred out of the ICU, the boy needed help walking 20 feet.

On day 54, his tracheostomy was removed.

The CDC noted the expenses for his treatment totaled $811,929, excluding air transportation, inpatient rehabilitation, and ambulatory follow-up costs.

Forty-four days after he was hospitalized, the boy was able to sip clear liquids. One month after his rehab concluded, he was able to return to normal activities "including running and bicycling", his doctors wrote.

The boy was put in an the intensive care unit in a darkened room with ear plugs - external stimulation such as light and noise seemed to intensify his spasms, doctors noticed. He was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit, and given treatments for tetanus, including a diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine.

Amid outbreaks of preventable childhood illnesses, one unvaccinated OR boy's nightmarish encounter with tetanus should serve as a cautionary tale for "anti-vaxxer" parents, doctors say.

Even though doctors reviewed the risks and benefits of tetanus vaccination with the boy's family, they still refused to give him a second dose of DTaP and other recommended immunizations, the report said.

Tetanus is an uncommon but very serious neuromuscular disease caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani.

Tetanus is part of the CDC's, but in this case the boy was unvaccinated.

The CDC added that widespread use of vaccines for tetanus have led to a 95 per cent decline in the number of tetanus cases and a 99 per cent decrease in the number of deaths related to the disease since 1940.

"Most parents and guardians know that immunisation is still the best way to protect children against vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough and measles". Booster shots are recommended every 10 years through adulthood.

The report states the costs for the child's inpatient care totaled more than $800,000. According to the World Health Organisation, "vaccine hesitancy" is one of the top 10 threats to global health this year.

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