Health

Unvaccinated boy brings tetanus to Oregon for the first time in nearly 30 years

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) this Thursday, a 6-year-old unvaccinated boy was the state of Oregon’s first case of tetanus in almost 30 years.

The report cites a case from 2017 and details how the boy cut his forehead while playing on a farm. About a week after the boy’s parents had his forehead cleaned up and stitched, he started experiencing involuntary spasms of the limbs and clenching of the jaw. The symptoms later evolved into spasms across the boy’s entire body, prompting the parents to seek medical help.

When the boy was airlifted to the hospital, he was unable to drink a glass of water due to the involuntary clenching of his jaw. Doctors eventually had to insert a tube into his windpipe. He was then given the tetanus and pertussis vaccine along with tetanus immune globulin.

Ultimately the boy required “8 weeks of inpatient care, followed by rehabilitation care, before he was able to resume normal activities,” the report stated.  All in all, the cost of the boy’s treatment totaled $811,929.

But even after all the trauma the boy experienced, his parents refused to allow doctors to give a second dose of anti-tetanus meds and other required immunizations.

The reports comes at a time when multiple disease outbreaks around the U.S. are sparking renewed debate between vaccine proponents and those who refuse to vaccinate.

Over the past few weeks, numerous outlets gave accounts of unvaccinated people introducing diseases into regions that have remained disease-free for extended periods of time. In a story from Costa Rica last month, an unvaccinated French boy and his parents were quarantined by health authorities after it was discovered the child was carrying measles, prompting health authorities to launch an investigation to track anyone who have have come in contact with the family.

In January, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed people who refuse to vaccinate among the top-10 health threats the word faces in the coming year.

Featured image via Flickr

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