Intended for healthcare professionals


Parents of US boy who survived tetanus after nearly $1m of care refuse vaccine

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 13 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l1172
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

The parents of a 6 year old boy who survived tetanus after 57 days in an Oregon paediatric acute care unit in 2017 have refused the recommended second dose of tetanus vaccine.

They boy’s hospital care in 2017 cost $811 929 (£620 000; €720 000)—plus the unreported cost of emergency air transport, rehabilitation, and follow-up care, an account in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said.1

This was the first case of tetanus in the state of Oregon in 30 years. A reported 7.5% of Oregon’s school age children do not receive any vaccinations because parents choose “non-medical exemptions”—that is, for personal reasons.2 The case fatality rate for tetanus is 13.2%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported.3

Recommended protection against tetanus is five doses of the …

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