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

Unvaccinated Child Contracted Tetanus. Took 2 Months $800K To Save Him

Unvaccinated Child Contracted Tetanus. Took 2 Months $800K To Save Him

The boy was Oregon's first case of tetanus in nearly 30 years, according to the CDC, citing the Oregon Health Authority.

According to the report, in 2017 the child sustained an injury to his forehead while playing outside.

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

About one week after suffering the wound, had episodes of crying, jaw clenching, and involuntary upper extremity muscle spasms, followed by arching of the neck and back (opisthotonus) and generalized spasticity. Once he had difficulty breathing, he was transported by air to a pediatric medical center, where he was diagnosed with tetanus, according to the CDC. It's rare among children; those over 65 are the most vulnerable. 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.

"Fortunately, the emergency department physicians immediately recognized the symptoms of severe tetanus", Judith Guzman-Cottrill, an author of the report and a pediatrics professor at Oregon Health & Science University, told The Washington Post in an email.

He was also given a dose of the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine, as well as tetanus immune globulin, a medication made up of antibodies against the infection.

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.

Nevertheless, the spasms causing his back and neck to arch worsened, and he developed hypertension, a speeding heart rate and a fever.

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On day 50, he was able to walk a short distance of 20 feet with assistance.

The young patient stayed on a mechanical ventilator for 44 days, and in intensive care for 47.

The child's care - not including the air ambulance and inpatient rehabilitation - cost almost $1 million, about 72 times the mean for a pediatric hospitalization in the US, the paper noted. On Day 57, he was transferred from the pediatric hospital to a rehabilitation center, where he spent two-and-a-half weeks.

The only way to protect yourself is through five doses of a vaccination. Between 2009 and 2015, there were only 197 cases of tetanus. It took about a month after his rehab for the boy to return to "normal activities" such as running and bicycling, the report added.

"The CDC report says tetanus vaccines have contributed to a" 95 percent decline in the number of tetanus cases and a 99 percent decrease in the number of tetanus-related deaths since the 1940s". The health agency said teenagers should get another booster shot at age 14 to 16. Seventy people in southwest Washington, a lot of them unvaccinated children, have been diagnosed with the highly contagious viral illness since January 1, as well as a handful of people in Portland, Oregon.

After allowing the first dose of vaccine, the parents refused a second dose for their son, despite doctors giving them information about the advantages of being immunized against tetanus. Other vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, have reemerged in recent years, in large part because of an anti-vaccination movement and vaccine misinformation.

Facebook itself announced Thursday that it is using vaccine hoaxes identified by the World Health Organization, the CDC and other global organizations to address inaccurate information plaguing the site. Measles is also preventable with a vaccination.

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