Unvaccinated 6-year-old boy was Oregon's first tetanus case in almost 30 years: report

A report showed that a 6-year-old unvaccinated boy from Oregon was with tetanus, the state's first case of its kind in nearly 30 years.

The young boy contracted the disease after he cut his forehead while playing outside on a farm, according to a report released by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday that details the 2017 case.


The boy’s parents reportedly cleaned and stitched his cut at home. Roughly a week later, the boy began to cry as his limbs involuntarily spasmed and his jaw began to clench tight.

After his neck and back began to arch and he started to experience spasms across his entire body, his parents then sought medical help for the child. He was later reportedly airlifted to a medical center nearby, where physicians diagnosed him with tetanus.

The young boy was alert and requested water upon his arrival to the hospital, but he was unable to open his mouth. A tube had to be placed in the boy’s windpipe.

He was later administrated the tetanus and pertussis vaccine along with tetanus immune globulin.

After he was given the medication, doctors placed the boy “in a darkened room with ear plugs and minimal stimulation” as loud noise and light seemed to worsen his condition. 

In total, the boy required nearly “8 weeks of inpatient care, followed by rehabilitation care, before he was able to resume normal activities,” the CDC said in the report. 

Excluding the costs of air transportation, inpatient rehabilitation and ambulatory follow-ups, inpatient charges for the boy totaled $811,929.

But despite “extensive review of the risks and benefits of tetanus vaccination by physicians,” the boy’s parents declined a second dose of the tetanus-fighting medication and “any other recommended immunizations.” 

The report about the case was part of the center’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which aggregates discussions and field studies about contagious outbreaks across the globe.

The report comes as lawmakers in the United States attempt to tackle what has been considered "a growing public health threat” as measles outbreaks continue to grow across the nation.