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US health officials publish severe tetanus case
The U.S. health agency recently released a case that caused a stir across America's borders. A six-year-old boy had to endure martyrdom for months because he suffered a wound on his forehead while playing, through which life-threatening tetanus pathogens penetrated the body. The parents had previously refused to be vaccinated against tetanus.
The US health agency "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" recently published a tetanus case in which a young boy had to fight for his life for several weeks. The six-year-old child from the US state of Oregon had to be treated in an intensive care unit for 47 days and then in a rehab station. According to the authorities, this has cost well over $ 800,000.
Thanks to vaccination, tetanus was severely restricted
Tetanus is an acute neuromuscular disease caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. The bacteria are distributed worldwide and are mainly found in the soil. If the pathogens penetrate the body through wounds in the skin, tetanus can break out within three to 21 days. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the risk of tetanus in Germany has dropped significantly over the past 50 years thanks to vaccinations and improved living conditions. There are an average of 15 cases of illness each year.
It started with a harmless injury when playing
As the U.S. authorities say, the boy from Oregon contracted a forehead wound while playing on a farm. The parents cleaned and treated the wound at home. Six days later the child complained of severe pain. Muscle cramps and twitches appeared again and again. Bulges formed on the neck and back. When breathlessness finally set in, the parents alerted the emergency services. The boy was flown to a pediatrics center where the tetanus diagnosis was made.
Spasticity caused severe shortness of breath
"Upon arrival at the hospital, the child had jaw cramps that were so severe that he could no longer open his mouth," the US agency said in a description of the illness. He suffered from spasticity in the diaphragm and larynx, which repeatedly caused severe breathing difficulties, so that the boy had to be artificially ventilated.
Dramatic struggle for survival
His condition worsened over the next few days. Additional complaints such as high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat and strong fluctuations in body temperature, which ranged from hypothermia to fever, weakened the boy. On the fifth day in the hospital, the shortness of breath became so great that the doctors had to perform a tracheal incision. His condition remained critical for the next 30 days. From the 35th day in the intensive care unit, his condition slowly improved. After 44 days in the intensive care unit, the boy was able to take another sip of water for the first time. Finally, after 47 days, he was transferred to a normal infirmary, where he spent another ten days. On the 57th day of the hospital, he was then transferred to a rehabilitation center, where he had to spend another 17 days.
Expensive happy ending
"The inpatient cost of this treatment was $ 811,929," writes the health agency. However, these costs do not include helicopter transportation, rehabilitation costs and outpatient follow-up costs. A month after rehab, the boy finally returned to normal activities like running and cycling. According to the US authorities, the family continues to refuse tetanus vaccination despite the drastic illness. (vb)