Public Resources - Tetanus
This is a work in progress.
In 1920, the main street of the town I live in, was compacted mud. Horses were still ridden on it, and tied up in front of stores. The farming around here was still primarily "pick and axe". Life has changed hugely since 1920. Farming is mechanised; fencing is mechanised; footwear and gloves vastly improved; tractors exist; streets are sealed; public sewage common and running water something that people in 1920 could only hope for. Even so, if you did a serological survey in the community, whether vaccinated or not, you would still find higher levels of antibodies in the rural community than in cities. Even within cities it will vary and those who love gardening will have higher levels of antibodies than those who don't. This is totally independant of vaccination, because natural immunity does exist, and vaccinated people get their natural boosters from the environment. The medical profession may greet this information with incredulity, but if they had on their shelves, the medical information I have on mine, there would be nothing they could say in rebuttal to what I have to say.
So first question. Can the vaccine save your life? Yes. Is that a guarantee? No. As this recent case in a fully vaccinated 14 year old boy shows.
So the following information is information which ALL people should know, since tetanus vaccination does NOT guarantee that you will NOT get tetanus. While the medical profession likes to take the credit for ALL the decline of tetanus courtesy of a vaccine, this is simply NOT true.
The proof of that lies with neonatal tetanus in the developed world, which DISAPPEARED well before the existence of either anti-toxin or a vaccine, courtesy of the endless work of people like Florence Nightingale (who, by the way, was 90 when she died...) and the ignored greats, Drs Ignaz Semmelweiss and Oliver Wendell Holmes who both excoriated their colleagues for refusing to wash their hands, and unsanitary medical practice and facilities. Both of them, at the end of their careers, had seen no progress on this issue. Dr Semmelweiss committed suicide, and Dr Holmes was so pissed off, he went and wrote very average novels and poetry, but made it plain in his last paper, that he was doing so, because he was disgusted with his colleagues, who he accused of being systemic murderers, and that he was leaving medicine for the sake of his own sanity.
Real progress often only happens after people ahead of their time die. Then everyone says, "Oh yes, that's blindingly obvious.' Everything we have to be thankful for historically, in terms of zero puerperal fever, neonatal tetanus; safe childbirth and safe surgery can be laid at the feet of people who were treated by medical colleagues like criminals during the time in which they tried to change their colleagues medical practice.
I know how they felt.
Anyone who thinks differently to "the system" will be treated as a criminal. If you land up in hospital with an unvaccinated child with tetanus, you WILL be treated as a criminal, particularly if you question their treatment, and ask for modalities that the hospital won't do. You can be sure that doctors will not like the discussions you have with them. This is the price you pay for thinking for yourself, and making choices they don't like.
You may also end up re-evaluating habits you hadn't thought through before.
The choice to vaccinate is yours, but whether you do or not, you should read all of the tome below, because while it may be long, it's all important, for two reasons:
1) The tetanus vaccine does NOT prevent all tetanus
2) Good health, does not come from the end of a needle.
Of all the diseases for which there are vaccines, tetanus is the one which frightens most people, and for good reason.
While most of us feel we can cope with chickenpox, measles, mumps and whooping cough, tetanus is the one disease which IF we get it, can be much more “uncontrollable”. So if you are going to chose not to vaccinate, there are certain things you must know, the first of which is that for ALL toxin mediated diseases to flourish in the body nutrition has to be inadequate, and if the disease gets out of control, you can be sure treatment will never include vitamin C, magnesium or appropriate nutrition. Hospital nutrition is well known to create scurvy in children, and critically ill patients - who already have low levels in the first place. ( Fain and Galley)
This resource will be as a series of questions in this order:
a) The disease.
b) Standard Hospital treatment.
c) Treatments ignored by hospitals..
d) Information on the tetanus vaccine.
e) What you must know if you don’t vaccinate.
The disease: What is tetanus.
What are the symptoms of tetanus?
Here is a 1940 text which still provides some of the most valuable information on Tetanus that there is. It was written before antibiotics, and at a time when people had a very thorough knowledge of tetanus.
There are five kinds of tetanus.
All can be preceded by nonspecific premonitory symptoms such as restlessness, irritability and headache.
1) Subacute tetanus which is characterised by some degree of neck stiffness involving the muscles at the back of the neck; spasticity, as well as increased muscle stretch reflexes, especially in the lower limbs. Patients usually have brief nocturnal generalised spasms There is ankle clonus, but the plantar response is always flexor. The term “mild tetanus” is inappropriate because the presence of generalised muscle spasms is generally felt to imply at least “moderate tetanus” which is not the case in subacute tetanus.
2) Local tetanus (rare) where the contractions of the muscles are only in the area of the injury. These contractions can persist for weeks when treated by the traditional hospital method.
3) Cephalic tetanus (very rare) which can often occur after otitis media with a burst ear drum, or removal of teeth or dental work, with inappropriate wound management. (But again, host conditions determine the outcome). Clostridium tetani can be found from swabs taken from the middle ear, but sometimes the entry point can be from the cone put in the ear by the doctor to have a look, or from fingers transferring tetanus spores into the ear. The main symptoms for this form of tetanus are in the head and face area.
4) Generalised tetanus (most common sort about 80%) The symptoms start at the head and work down. Reflex spasms normally occur within 24 – 72 hours, known as the “onset time”. First the person will find it hard to open their mouth; will have a stiff neck and have difficulty swallowing.
Symptoms vary hugely. Sometimes, the tetanus is very mild, sometimes moderate and sometimes serious. The intensity of spasms and sequance of muscle involvement is quite variable and individual, dependant on nutritional status.
Then there will be spasms, as the muscles react to the toxin, the stomach muscles will go tight. The temperature will rise in response to the toxin; there will be sweating, raised heart-rate and the blood pressure will rise.
Characteristically, the manifestation of tetanus increase in severity for about 3 days after the first signs, and then remain stable for the next 5 – 7 days. After about 10 days, spasms begin to occur less frequently and by the end of 2 weeks, they disappear altogether - when treated properly.
Residual stiffness may persist but most people recover completely in 4 weeks. Occasionally, spasms can continue for 3 – 4 weeks under normal hospital treatment, with complete recovery taking months in really serious cases. Emotional, visual, physical and aural stimulation can cause muscle spasms.
5) Neonatal tetanus was eliminated from developed countries BEFORE either a vaccine or antibiotics were invented primarily because of basic cleanliness. Now, neonatal tetanus occurs primarily in undeveloped countries, particularly those which still put animal dung on a newbord's umbilical cord. Yes, it still happens.
Neonatal tetanus is usualy very severe, and usually occurs within 10 days of birth. Early signs include difficulty in sucking, irritability and excessive crying, associated with peculiar grimacing. There is intense rigidity, flexion of the arms, clenched fists, extension of the legs and plantar flexion of the toes. Spasms occur eith minimal stimuli. Neonatal tetanus in developing countries is a specific problem relating to disgusting unhygiene practices surrounding bad indigenous midwifery practices.
All the effects of tetanus toxin are self-limited and completely reversible in patients who recover from the disease., usually leaving no residual effects. Correctly treated tetanus requires NO physical or occupational therapy in recovery,
The symptoms of tetanus spasms, seizures, back arching and locking of the jaw are cause by a toxin called tetanospasmin, released by the spore form of a bacteria called Clostridium Tetani of which there are many distinct types. All have one or more common antigens, and produce at least two toxins. Tetanospasmin which is the exotin which acts on the nerves, is as toxic as strychnine and is identical across all different clostridial types.
Tetanus spores are everywhere in the environment. On your bookcase, in your back yard, in clothing and house dust. and in your mouth and faeces. Tetanus has been known to follow surgery and innocuous procedures such as skin testing or intramuscular injections of medications; injecting drug addicts, and I also have many case histories of cases following haemorrhoid and other surgery.
Clostridium bacteria are especially common in the intestines and faeces of rats, guinea pigs, chickens, cats, dogs, sheep, cattle and horses. Approximately 5% of humans have clostridium tetani multiplying in their guts yet don’t even know it, although the 1940 text puts that figure at 25%.
Clinical tetanus, for some unknown reason, has a male/female ration 2.5/1. Toxin production is favoured by dead or necrotic tissue with little oxygen, which are the ideal breeding ground for spores, which are taken there by phagocytes. Tetanus can be detected in human faeces and human bites, and as Holmes 40 states, tetanus CAN routinely live inside our bodies, so the existence of tetanus spores inside us is NOT the ultimate cause of tetanus. Were that the case, the earth would have no people or animals in it. Conditions must exist - which create an environment - which will result in the tetanus suddenly causing problems, and those conditions depend on the HOST, not the tetanus. One of the biggest dangers is something called the Standard American Diet, where so much of the calories eaten are empty and lacking core nutrients which are important to a fully functioning innate immune system.
In developing countries, the biggest risk factor outside of neonatal tetanus, is MALnutrition. Not enough food. and lack of sanitation and clean running water.
In devloped countries, one of the biggest risk factors if MALnutrition. As in, enough food, but food which isn't worthy of being eaten. And yes, many New Zealand children are fed Standard American diets. Just watch what goes in the average family's Pak'N'Save trolleys. The contents are often enough, to curl any nutritionist's toes.
There are no laboratory tests for tetanus, which is diagnosed solely on symptoms. However, other tests may be used to rule out strychnine poisoning which looks very like tetanus.
Other diagnoses which have to be ruled out are: dental infections, local infections, Hysteria, neoplasm, encephalitis and dystonia. (Hegazi – last slide)
Dystonia can also be caused by drugs like stemetil, Stelazine and chlorpromazine (Largactil) so in cases where tetanus is considered, “pseudotetanus” as a result of drug ingestion should be ruled out first. Benztropine of Diazapam are the antidotes recommended for tetanic like symptoms from drugs. (Which makes you ask the question, "how do drugs act on the nerves to cause conditions that look like tetanus?")
WHO DOES TETANUS PRIMARILY AFFECT?
In the medical literature is the constantly repeated phrase throughout history, particularly before paved streets, running water and flush toilets..., that tetanus primarily affects the very young, the old and the immunocompromised - however they understood that concept in those days. Generally though, the "weaker" would have been protected from tetanus, since they didn't have the energy of ability to do work which would constantly expose them to tetanus spores.
The "rusty nail" originated when horses were always on the road, and barefoot people stood on horseshoe nails, often embedded in mud impregnated with horse dung. Today, we know that tetanus spores are everywhere. Puncture wounds which do not bleed are the most dangerous, and "rusty nails" aren't the only things which can carry tetanus spores into someone's body. In children, feet will be the most likely portal of entry, because they are more likely to run barefoot, but the portal of entry for older children, or adults is far more likely to be hands, knees, elbows - and if medical literature is taken not of - burst middle ear drums and... surgery!
Spores are ubiquitous. They can be found on any surface in hospital, on your bookcase, in your spit. Human bites and bullet wounds are potential portals of entry. The fact that the world was well habituated before a tetanus vaccine shows us that natural immunity existed and continues to exist in the face of commonsense cleanliness.
Today, in undeveloped countries, the primary risk groups is babies whose parents or the local midwives put camel or other dung as a traditional ritual on the umbilical cord, and older people with cuts which haven't been cleaned out properly.
When Captain Cook came here, there weren't a whole lot of Maori dead from tetanus. More maori will have died from their constant inter-tribal utu and wars than would ever have died from tetanus.
When Europeans came here, everything had to be done by hand, and even then people weren't dying from tetanus hand over foot. (bad pun) and you know that. How? Well, most of you have a family tree. How many in YOUR family tree died of tetanus?
Yes tetanus happened and can happen today... and that's why this is written.
You need to know a whole lot of information. Even more than is put here, so that you can make choices, and whatever those choices are, know what you are going to do, and why.
Are splinters the only things which cause tetanus?
No. Tetanus has been noted after skin abscesses, gangrene, burns, frostbite, middle ear infections, surgery, abortions, childbirth and drug abuse, primarily "skin popping". Sometimes, no "portal of entry" can be figured out. In terms of puncture injuries, sometimes the smaller ones are the more dangerous because people don't tend to clean them out.
COMPLICATIONS of tetanus.
Complications contribute significantly to deaths in tetanus. The death rate varies from country to country and hospital to hospital, and to a degree, depends on the immune system of the person with tetanus. In underdeveloped countries with minimal medical assistance the death rate is far higher than in western countries.
In developed countries, death usually results from a secondary bacterial complication introduced by intubation, tracheotomy, or a nosocomial (hospital acquired) infection. Some other complications result from overly vigorous therapy and prolonged bed rest, while others can be attributed to the tetanus toxin itself, and failure to neutralise it adequately. According to one medical text, high fever later in tetanus, usually signifies secondary infection. Pneumonia is the most common late complication and is found in up to 70% of autopsied cases. (which I believe is scurvy induced because of high levels of toxins, and because hospitals don’t use vitamin C in the treatment of tetanus.)
The death rate from tetanus in developed countries is entirely dependant upon the quality of medical care, treatment and nutrition given during tetanus infection. Secondary bacterial infections may become more of an issue, as continued overuse of antibiotics by the medical system drives the development of more and more superbugs.
The most current e-medical article on four of these sorts of tetanus, and the treatment can be read here: with another emedicine site being for paediatric tetanus here:
What is the standard hospital treatment in developed countries?
The standard treatment options are covered in the emedicine article above. A powerpoint on clinical features can be seen here. (Hegazi)
And New Zealand?
In New Zealand, feedback over the years has shown that New Zealand hospital treatment depends on the symptoms, but usually involves the antibiotic metronidazole (which is primarily used against anaerobic bacteria and Giardia) and tetanus immunoglobulin. Penicillin is not an antibiotic of choice, because it causes more spasms, and tetracycline should never be used, because it strips the body of vitamin C which is crucial in clearing and resolving the symptoms of any toxin mediated disease.
Antibiotics make no difference to the course of tetanus disease – but they use them anyway. In turn, antibiotics trash the gut flora, which may make the patient more susceptible to hospital acquired bacteria such as streptococcus pneumonaie, clostridium difficile and cMRSA or other superbugs. They also trash good gut flora affecting the ability of the body to absorb minerals and vitamin K, B etc. The detrimental results of heavy duty antibiotic damage on gut flora can be permanent. Here is the proper version of the study. On this basis, you wonder why they continue to use an antibiotic that has little effect on the course of the disease, but systemically napalms the whole body without discrimination.
Depending on the spasms, sedation may be midazolam and morphine, as well as a paralysing agent such as pancuronium for spasms. Morphine however, can make some people vomit which is not a good idea as that can cause massive spasms, so morphine should be carefully monitored. Morphine usually constipates a patient, which can make tetanus worse, because toxins also come into play from e.coli in a static bowel. The room might be darkened and stimulation discouraged. If a temperature is present, the ubiquitous paracetamol will be used.
For some stupid reason, staff continue to want to bed-bath patients daily. This is totally unnecessary, and leads to spasms. The only things that need good cleaning are the room the person is in, doctors and nurses hands etc; luer areas; equipment used in and on the person and the skin in those areas. Physical stimulation should be kept to a minimum. So while hospitals continue to want to wash patients daily, in my opinion, washing should be kept to a minimum.
NZ hospitals regularly turn to avoid bed sores, and during this time, sheets should be changed. This requires competent precise minimal movement of the patient, and should be practiced, not just for tetanus, but for any bed-ridden patient. Avoidance of bed sores, and clean linen are crucial.
New Zealand hospitals also push vaccination, on the basis that they say the disease does not confer immunity, and therefore the person needs vaccines “immunity” by the time immunoglobulin wears off. Furthermore, hospitals and doctors push the use of vaccine which contain other disease antigens as well. So while parents are often told their child will get a "tetanus vaccine" what the child is given is the Hexavalent vaccine, which includes Diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, Polio 1, 2 and 3, Hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae. This is called "captive vaccination". In other words, put in everything at once. You'd think they would be more interested in letting the immune system deal with the tetanus when needed, but such a concept is foreign to the medical profession.
The New Zealand Health Department stopped bringing in single tetanus antigens in March 2007.
So New Zealand hospital offer/push adults to have the Quadracel (diphtheria, tetanus pertussis and polio), and for children hospitals insist on Infanrix-Hexa, which has diphtheria, tetanus pertussis, polio, hepatitis B and Haemophilus.
As we stated in our second book in 2008, we view this attitude of the system to be major impediment to anyone wanting to vaccinate against tetanus - before or after tetanus ( not during ). In our opinion, the dropping of the single tetanus antigen, and the of Quadracel or Infanrix-hexa is "wide net casting" to “trap” people into having all vaccines. In our view, any vaccine administered to anyone with tetanus is a totally unnecessary assault on the immune system on a body which already has more than enough to do BECAUSE the vaccine cannot possibly BENEFIT a patient WITH tetanus.
Furthermore, there is no medical clinical rationale to vaccinate while undergoing heavy duty treatment to survive tetanus. Neither are there any trials to see whether it affects the disease outcome. The body has better things to do than derail the immune system resulting in a T4/T8 ratio to produce an immunological profile which looks like that of someone with AIDS, It has since been discovered that the influenza vaccine also results in a prolonged aberrant immune profile as well. To vaccinate someone while their body is fighting a serious disease lacks common sense.
For anyone chosing to vaccinate against tetanus at any time, single tetanus antigens, or paediatric DT can still be found in this country, but requires going under the radar to find medical practices who privately import vaccine stock from Europe.
The statement that the disease (or exposure to tetanus spores) does not confer immunity is a nonsense.
It is quite common - if antibody tests are done on admission with tetanus, for the test to come back showing plenty of antibodies. Parents who request this test, and where it comes back positive will be told that THOSE antibodies cannot protect the child - but that the same antibodies made by vaccines can. (The same is said about diphtheria, and some other toxin mediated diseases).
I believe this statement to be a nonsense.
Some references on this are: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6680401 ... http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1092755 “ The existence of natural immunization was unquestionably demonstrated by presence of protective levels of tetanus antitoxin in the blood of the majority of 59 surveyed subjects considering that none of them had ever received any tetanus toxoid and most of them never received a single shot of any drug.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2651348 ... http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6114281;,,,, http://www.jstor.org/stable/30115079 . WHO recognizes these studies, but dismisses them, and it’s easy to see why.
The absolute key to tetanus management is careful around-the-clock attention to mucus build-up in the lungs, use of magnesium to stabilise the heart and blood pressure and simply good nursing; keeping the patient well hydrated, paying attention to electrolyte balance, sedation, reduction of sensory overload, and excellent nutrition. Patients with tetanus require about two and a half times MORE calories than normal daily life, due to the metabolic requirements on the body of fighting tetanus. Any nerve dysfunction and breathing irregularities need to be carefully managed.
Just relying on tetanus immunoglobulin and sedation gets you nowhere fast.
Unfortunately, hospitals in this country are noted for their abysmal lack of understanding about nutrition, and often have to be pushed into other treatment, depending on the knowledge of the patient's advocates.
What treatments do New Zealand hospitals not use?
1) New Zealand hospitals do not generally use magnesium even though it IS a standard medical treatment. If you want magnesium treatment you may have to push for it.
Magnesium should be a first line treatment for tetanus . Magnesium stabilises the heart and reduces blood pressure; reduces the need for sedation, and also makes nursing simpler. The medical evidence for Magnesium is sound, with the most recent 2010 article on magnesium in adults is found here: and a 1997 medical article on magnesium in tetanus, can be found here: . A more recent 2004 article by Attygalle can be found here. A 2003 article by Cevilla on the use of magnesium in children can be found here.
Other articles can also be found on pubmed.
Magnesium was extensively used between 1900 and 1945, because tetanus anti-toxin was not developed until 1924, and then tetanus anti-toxin developed a bad reputation for killing people, primarily because it was made from horses. But with the advent of slightly safer anti-toxin, and antibiotics, the medical profession supported patented pharmaceuticals rather than using safe, established unpatented solutions. Later, human immunoglobulin replaced the use of dangerous anti-toxin.
2) New Zealand hospitals do not use vitamin C for tetanus. It's a safe bet that hospitals will reject any suggestion of vitamin C use, on the excuse that they have "never heard" of it, or that it might be "dangerous" for the patient.
Again, in the early years, vitamin C showed great promise in animal studies. A human study in Bangladesh, also pointed to possibilities, but this study suffers from design problems. Nevertheless, the Cochrane collaboration considers that it should not be ignored, because the death rates were so low, despite the fact that the same dose of vitamin C was used in a baby, compared to a 64 year old, which is a scientific nonsense. Commonsense would dictate that like antibiotics or anti-spasmodics, vitamin C should be calibrated for both weight and severity rather than handing out a routine 1 gram per day, no matter the age, weight or severity. In American in the 1950’s Dr Frederick Klenner used vitamin C to good effect with all toxin mediated diseases including tetanus. Other doctors have also used it, but they have pretty much kept their heads below the parapet so that the system doesn’t shoot them between the eyes.
Professor Hemila from Finland wrote a thesis on vitamin C, and in his 2006 thesis collected all animal studies that he could find. The majority of them found that vitamin C protected against diverse viruses, bacteria and bacterial toxins.
See pages 6-9 and 105-118 in:
Pages 6-9 are also available as HTML version
(some other parts are listed at: http://www.ltdk.helsinki.fi/users/hemila/thesis.htm ) Of particular interest in this case are studies by Dey (and Buller-Souto&Lima summarized by Clemetson)
3) New Zealand hospitals do not use N-Acetylcysteine (NAC). If paracetamol is being used to reduce fever, it is potentially liver toxic, and NAC is the anti-dote. The last thing anyone with tetanus needs is more pressure on the liver, which will be doing a lot of the detoxication work getting rid of the exotoxin tetanospasmin. It makes sense to include NAC. The other reason to consider NAC is that tetanus toxin can thicken mucus, and NAC thins thick mucus.
4) New Zealand hospitals don’t use homeopathics. Obviously! A list for specific homeopathics for tetanus is available here: If you want other lists, google it. You can be sure that if you even suggest homeopathics you will be the topic for tea-room derision for years to come. Besides which, if a person has serious clinical tetanus, with arching back and seizures, they are beyond homeopathy, and require direct biochemical support. But use them if it makes YOU feel better. Just don't tell anyone you're doing that.
The tetanus vaccine was introduced on the back of World War II experience – (never mind that both the New Zealand soldiers who died from tetanus were vaccinated.... and when I was researching the enquiry into why tetanus happened in soldiers' hospitals, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when an old medical article stated that tetanus spores were found impregnated in both the cotton wool and bandages used to wrap up wounds!)
Intitially only the military were vaccinated and up until 1960, children didn’t get the vaccine. Tetanus vaccination for children became universal in 1961. A different formulation was offered to adults were offered in 1970. If you have looked at the CDC website in USA, you will notice that graphs for cases or hospitalizations always start the year that vaccination started. In New Zealand, the graph in the handbook starts in 1970, which doesn’t tell you very much, or give you an idea of risk/benefit ratio.
There have never been randomized controlled trials with the tetanus vaccine, for the simple reason that the medical profession, when it believes in something’s use, considers randomised trials with unvaccinated controls, unethical.
Only this year, was the first study done looking at the responses in adolescents who had been vaccinated as babies. I have read the whole article, and to say the least, the results are disturbing. Given that this failure to respond to later boosters, doesn’t happen when children are vaccinated with a primarcy schedule at a later age, this should give some people pause for thought, though not to the researchers, .... whose solution is simply to give more boosters more often!
The old “more must be better” motto.
Please note that no-one actually knows what the protective level of antibodies are in humans. This is assumed from studies of animals, decades ago. Therefore the assumed protective level is a guess.
(Yet to be done).
The list is long, and I have a whole folder full of many different types. I will add med article URLs later. In the meantime, use pubmed.
Options regarding tetanus vaccines.
Many parents have reported to us, that the tetanus vaccine is one which they might have considered for themselves, or their children were it available as a single vaccination or as a paediatric dT.
They have been told by their doctors, that it is only available as a combination along with diphtheria, whooping cough polio, hib and hepatitis B, called Infanrix-Hexa. Even adults are telling us, if they go to A & E with an injury, that they are being “offered”, Quadracel under the guise of a “tetanus” shot which has pertussis, diphtheria tetanus and the three polio strains. If they are lucky, they are only injected with Adacel, which is diphtheria, Tetanus, and pertusis, and don’t find out until afterwards, that it wasn’t just a tetanus vaccine. Those who brave the inquisition and say no, are required to sign disclaimers.
Contrary to what doctors and hospitals are telling you, there are some practices who will provide single tetanus vaccinations. They must be imported privately, and usually, the cost of vaccination and administration is around $70.00. If you are considering a tetanus vaccination, do not accept the statement, that a single antigen cannot be done. It is true that medsafe no longer lists a single vaccination, but that isn’t because a single antigen is no longer available. That is because it’s now Ministry of Health policy to only “offer” combination vaccinations to all age groups, which is counterproductive, if that means that some people who might otherwise have a tetanus shot, refuse a combination shot.
Please don't email me, and ask me for a list of contacts. I won't give you one. If you want to make a choice to use a single tetanus vaccine, it's up to you to do the homework, find it, import it and find someone to administer it.
That is not my job. My job is ONLY to tell you that it's possible.
Can, and do vaccinated people get tetanus?
Most people who are vaccinated, don’t get tetanus, but yes it can happen:
In 1978 Berger et al published case reports of tetanus despite preexisting antitetanus antibodies
In 1982, the BMJ reported tetanus after a bone marrow transplantation in a fully vaccinated member of the military
In 1986, Passen et al reported a case in a 35 year old who had had the primary series and two boosters 8 and 4 years prior to tetanus. His antibody levels on admission were 16 times higher than presumed protective levels. What did the hospital do when this man survived? They followed up with more vaccines. When five vaccine plus 16 times more anitbody than necessary don’t work, more surely will!
1991. Maselle et al reported Neonatal tetanus despite protective serum antitoxin concentration. Seven babies with clinical tetanus were found to have antibody levels 4 – 13 times higher than the presumed minimum protective level. Some mothers had received multiple booster during pregnancy with antibody levels 100 – 400 times higher than the presumed protective level.
In 1992, Crone et al reported tetanus in 3 immunized people.
1993 Tetanus in vaccinated children. Five of the cases in this article were children, and four were fully immunised.
In 1994, a case was reported in a fully vaccinated drug user.
In 1995 De Mores Pinto reported neonatal tetanus despite vaccination and protective levels of antibodies.
In 1997 generalised tetanus was reported in a man who had had a primary series and two booster injections, and had tetanus antibodies more than 100 times the protective level.
In `1998, O’Malley et al, reported a woman with serious tetanus despite being fully vaccinated.
1999, Shimoni et al detailed a 34 year old construction worker fully vaccinated and boostered.
2000 Vinson presented CDC data showing that of 740 listed cases, 53 cases had completed a primary series and 22 had received their latest boosters between 5 and 9 year, and two had had boosters within 5 years. (Follow the links to the pdf in Pubmed)
2000, Abrahamian et all detailed a case in an injecting fully vaccinated drug user whose antibody levels were 16 times higher than presumed for protection.
After a 2003-2004 tetanus outbreak in UK amongst injecting drug users (IDU) where some were vaccinated and two had had five vaccines. It was recommended that IDU be given immunoglobulin whether vaccinated or not, since their nutrition and lifestyle will predispose them to tetanus.
Between 2005 – 2007 half the tetanus cases in UK were IDU’s (slide 28) I note they carefully omit to mention the ones who were fully vaccinated…. (and don’t you love that female prisoners should receive the rubella vaccination to prevent them from having congenitally damaged babies? - huh?)
In 2006, Heydari et al reported tetanus in an immunised adult.
In 2007, Beltra et al described a patient with tetanus despite protective levels of antibodies
In 2011, a fully vaccinated 14 year old boy got tetanus.
And so it goes on.
Many vaccinated cases don’t get reported in the medical literature anyway. I know of two people who had tetanus, who were fully vaccinated, and their cases were never reported in the medical literature as vaccinated. There are a lot more medical articles, but most don’t have abstracts or full texts available, and are in other languages. So this is a universally known about issue.
Last but not least is a doctor's story of how he, fully vaccinated and boostered the year before, got and survived tetanus. But his story was never written up in the medical literature. Funny that. This story was written for me in 2004, and published with permission.
The other interesting issue is that if you look at some of the serological surveys, particularly those done in USA over the years, quite a large proportion of well vaccinated people don’t have purported protective levels of antibody – bearing in mind that these people never acknowledge the presence of memory immunity for any disease, let alone consider it a possibility for toxin mediated diseases.
Therefore, no doctor can ever rule out tetanus, even if someone is vaccinated. A point made by Vinson and Shimoni mentioned previously.
But you might say, "If I don’t vaccinate myself, or my children, I might get tetanus, and die".
You might. But what are the chances of that? 100% if it happens to you.
Yes, tetanus happens.
However, being realistic, how many people in your family tree got or died of tetanus before the vaccine came out for universal use in NZ from 1960? Prior to that, only military personnel received the vaccine. My father died at the age of 95, having been brought up barefoot around horses, never having had a tetanus vaccination in his life, and regularly shovelling horse manure yearly in the garden. I know many people who have never had a tetanus shot, and never will. Many of the people in new Zealand today, who are 100 years or older, have not had a tetanus vaccine, and if they did were 60 years old at least, before they had a primary series. How did they survive? Their immune systems were up to the job, because every single one of us comes in contact with tetanus from a very early age. If there was not an inate natural immunity, the world would never have over-populated before the tetanus vaccine was rolled out to civilians 40 years ago.
Historically, in New Zealand, in the forty years between 1920 and childhood vaccination began in 1960, the incidence of tetanus was 1.1 cases per 100,000 per year.
So for every one person who got tetanus, 99,999 people without a vaccine didn’t get tetanus, and most of them would never get tetanus.
Yes, that means that without vaccination, back when NZ had 1.5 million people, we once had an estimated 17 cases a year in people, most of whom were never taught proper wound management. If we still lived in a country in which far more people still rode horses to school, played barefoot in the horse paddock next to the school, never cleaned out cuts, and didn't eat properly (actually, most people these days have an 'unclear' idea of what good nutrition is...) and we had a medical profession which didn’t understand how to clean out wounds, we would still be seeing 1.1 cases per 100,000 people.
But the fact is that Maori, and earlier settlers, did NOT die like flies from Tetanus. They did die like flies from malnutrition and gastroenteritis though.
When it comes to wound management, I've watched New Zealand doctors NOT clean out wounds on the assumption that the person is vaccinated, forgetting that there is far more than just clostridium tetani in soil....
Please note that that huge dip in the graph above, which also appears in data from other countries, occured during the times when polio prevention included huge posters which had phrases like, "Sneezes spread diseases" ... "Wash your hands after X Y and Z" ... "Flies are deadly germ spreaders". There is a huge range of posters which emphasised cleanliness, food safety, good hygiene, and "Berty-germ". It's no coincidence to me that the minute that focus vanished, tetanus rates climbed yet again.
Serious reactions to tetanus vaccines, such as brachial neuritis, occur at the same rate as clinical tetanus ... at a rate of 1 per 100,000, so again, that's part of the risk/benefit equation which has to be weighed up, but normally people can't weigh it up, becuase people don't get told what the odds are in getting tetanus, or a reaction. I have a huge stack of letters from people with serious reactions to the tetanus vaccine which have permanently blighted their lives. Both sides of the coin, have potential consequences. Both vaccine reactions, and clinical tetanus are rare.
But if you get either tetanus or a vaccine reaction, data means nothing. Reality is 100%.
The fact that serious reactions, like brachial neuritis, has the same strike rate for complications, as for getting tetanus itself, also makes you wonder if there is a genetic susceptibility component with regard to both getting tetanus, and having a vaccine reaction. This has been postulated so in other infections when looking at people who don't respond to Hepatitis B or Hib vaccines. They appear to have the same gene pattern as those who get serious Hib or become Hep B carriers. (As shown in medical articles by Gregory Poland)
Remember, the choice to vaccinate or not, is yours. The responsibility to do all you can in every facet of your life, is also yours.
Were your children vaccinated against Tetanus.
No they were not.
What do you consider important if you don’t vaccinate yourself or your children?
We consider that many fundamentals are crucial, which are just about lost knowledge in these days when most people assume the doctor will fix everything:
But these are basic life-long fundamentals which prepare a person to heal well throughout life, regardless of the vaccination status, and quite irrelevant to any issues relating to tetanus, because many infections can result from any puncture wounds, shell cuts, coral punctures and skin injury.... not just tetanus.
So this information applies to all skin puncture wounds, in all people, vaccinated or not.
1) A healthy diet with no junk food, no artificial sugar, refined flour, alcohol, drugs or smoking anything. At any time of life. Pregnant women even more so, to “build” a healthy baby.
2) Prolonged breastfeeding of babies to build a strong inate immune system. Most people consider breastmilk to be just food, but it is not. It's the orchestrator of immune development, as well as a sentinel within the body with the potential to destroy cancer cells and protect a person from many chronic diseases until they die. Seriously.
3) Nutrition, nutrition and nutrition. Fruit, veges, protein, whole grains…. Everyone should drink water, preferable safely collected and enclosed rain water, not chlorine, aluminium, fluoride and floculant permeated municipal supply ghastly tasting stuff.
4) Rule number one: Do not go anywhere, where there is possibly broken glass, metal splinters, wood splinters etc, with bare feet.
That includes pavements, unsafe beaches, playgrounds, widely patronized bush areas, green areas inter-city. In the bush, watch out for bush lawyer plants and other thorny traps. Beware of roses and any plants with spines. If you have a Phoenix canariensis palm in your garden, or any other dangerous variety palm for that matter, get rid of it . These sorts of palms carry a variety of serious pathogens including, "an array of aerobic and anaerobic pathogenic bacteria including Clostridium perfringens the causative agent of the life-threatening gas gangrene, Bacillus anthracis, and Pantoea agglomerans. Septic inflammation caused by plant thorn injury can result not only from bacteria. Medical literature indicates that thorns, spines or prickles also introduce pathogenic fungi into animals or humans."
Quite apart from falling palm branches hitting you on the head, phoenix and other palms can be exceedingly hazardous for gardeners, or passers by. Birds and rodents live in them, and they are impregnanted with bird and other faeces.
The splinters have barbs and can cause a wide array of serious clinical problems like septic arthritis. Dirty phoenix palm barbs would be a prime tetanus spore induction as a splinter, because they are just about impossible to remove properly without cutting everything wide open. If you get a phoenix palm splinter, you need to open it right out, which is painful, and make sure every barb and fragment is removed. If you are anywhere where there are palms or cactus, don’t touch them, and do not “wear” bare feet.
Small palm “fruit” is toxic with high levels of oxalic acid as well, and can cause dermatitis if walked on, and worse. If you live in countries with poisonous snakes, scorpions and spiders, be aware that palms are their favourite haunts, as well as for rats, mice and other rodents. In short, know your plants, poisonous animals and insects and ... plan ahead.
5) A competent wound care knowledge might not only save your life, but someone else’s as well, and a thorough understanding of progression of symptoms of the different sorts of tetanus, methods of treatment, is crucial.
6) Any cut, splinter, grazed chin from falling off bikes, or toe, knee or elbow grazes from concrete etc, must be cleaned out immediately. We always carry snap open saline solution, tweezers and splinter removers etc… when we travel, and even when we rode bikes.
Please read this VERY carefully. It's old but thorough.
If you are in hot countries, where hygiene practices are woeful, all grazes should be washed out with saline solution, surrounding skin sprayed with a hydrogen peroxide mix (take it with you), and if necessary, follow up with iodine and witch-hazel. BE PREPARED. BE EDUCATED.
Please note though, that while some people quote medical articles suggesting hydrogen peroxide in tetanus prone wounds, this should NOT be used because it creates DEAD tissue, which creates exactly the conditions which spores grow in. However, I do use hydrogen peroxide to fizz out dust from grazes, then I use a pack of peas to freeze and numb the area and i remove ALL WHITE deadened flesh, then irrigate gently with a solution of sodium ascorbate (half a teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of water)
7) Children at school should be taught why and how to treat their own grazes, because New Zealand school staff often have no clue because they assume that all children are vaccinated. There is this false macho "harden up" attitude which is a total disservice in all respects. Parents, children and teachers should understand that any cuts can cause serious infections quite apart from tetanus. If your child doesn't want to treat a cut, when injured at school, and the school won't do it, then educate your child to always ring or text you. Ring the school and tell them what you want done, and if neceesary, go to the school and do it yourself in the car!
A similar problem exists with doctors and hospitals.
I've watched with embarrassment, as a doctor didn't even bother to clean around the edges of..., or attempt to irrigate the entry of a very dirty knife stab through the calf (farmer killing sheep but missed!), on the basis that the person was vaccinated. No useful advice was even given. It seemed the doctor was unaware that “soil” and farm knives carry a whole lot else other than tetanus spores.
8) In our household all cuts are cleaned thoroughly, and surface grazes washed out with a specific hydrogen peroxide recipe mixed with other ingredients. (If you want the specific recipe, email me). However, you MUST be careful to never leave any dead white tissue or skin flaps, even on what looks like a surface graze.
Any barnacle or mini-mussel cuts from beach rocks must be treated immediately, if the person so cut, was silly enough to rock climb with bare feet! (Or a parent silly enough to allow them!!!) Open cuts should be “dressed” when the person is outside. Make sure that your children when rock climbing at the beach, at the very least, wear the "beachfeet" from the Warehouse. They are only about $8.00, and could spare your child a lot of pain, not to mention you a bit of worry. At that price, always carry spare beachfeet with you.
For outside work, I also wear beachfeet, even when gardening with a hand fork or weeding. I also wear cotton surgical gloves and over the top, the examination gloves they use in hospital. That stops the soil from drying out my skin and prevents most scratches, and makes hand cleaning a whole lot easier. Beachfeet allow me to walk and run with a natural foot action, with better grip, and I don’t have to worry about feet bee stings either, not that I want to stand on bees. I also use these at the beach with socks for traversing rocks when collecting seaweed, to prevent cuts.
If I'm digging using a spade of a fork, I wear capped boots. If you are pruning in trees such as citrus, always wear protective eye goggles because there is a lot of "junk" in trees, which can fall in your eyes.
9) The most dangerous tetanus prone splinters are fish bones, fishing flies, nails in the ground, palm and wood splinters, rose thorns, but medical articles state that tetanus can be got without any puncture wound.
In the medical literature there are cases of tetanus following bowel surgery, and even from the tip of the device doctors use to look in the ears of a child with ear-ache.
Never bury fish bones in the garden to break down as manure. Put them in a “lockable” barrel covered with water and lime, where they will dissolve over time, and become a liquid compost mix.
If you have children, and are planning a garden, do not plant dangerous plants like roses, agaves or palms and only plant thornless fruit and berry plants. Children don’t understand the word “no” in a garden. By the same token, once they are old enough, teach them which plants are dangerous, and then plant them if you feel the need..... Knowledge is power.
10) If you don’t have children, and chose to have “nasty” plants, don't deal with roses, boysenberries, thorny citrus or any palms without leather gloves to protect your hands, and appropriate clothes and footwear to protect your body.
If you have an immunodeficiency, or are immunosuppressed from medical treatment, wear cotton gloves and surgical gloves when dealing with commercial compost, and ALWAYS wet the compost, BY CUTTING a hole in a top and bottom corner, impregnating the bag with trickling water from a hose before opening the bag fully, and using the compost from the bag. The water impregnated into the soil, will prevent spores or anything else from becoming air-borne.
11) When cleaning up large quantities of wet animal manure, wear cotton and long surgical gloves, or use shovels etc, and do not touch. This isn’t just for tetanus protection. It’s just plain common sense. Drum these rules into your family. Macho mottos have no place in real life, when dealing with animal manure.
12) Even if you wear gloves when gardening, hand and feet-washing and keeping nails clean and short, should be a basic, understood by everyone.
13) If you get a splinter of any sort, after removing and cleaning it out, make sure that you are taking plenty of vitamin C and watch it carefully for signs of infection, pain, and red streaks travelling away from the splinter site.
14) Make it your business to learn every possible method of treatment for septic cuts, burns and wounds in general, so that you can pre-empt any possible infection of any sort. Learn the nutrition needed for optimum health, and various nutrients needed for optimum healing.
Do all this, and you should not have cause to land up at the doctors for any reason - let alone tetanus... , and if you do, at least you will know you’ve done everything you could, to prevent problems. ( Other than to vaccinate if you so chose.)
However tetanus vaccination only provides possible protection against one of the many pathogen hazards which can result from cuts, burns and splinters.
And as you have seen, a tetanus vaccination is not a 100% guarantee that you might not get tetanus.
Even if you vaccinate, learn how to deal with wounds properly, and clean out every splinter and wound meticulously, regardless of vaccination status.
One of the worst "side effects" of vaccinations is a complacent blaze attitude towards the fundamentals of health in general. Health is too serious an issue to rely on vaccination and ignore core fundamentals.
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