An unvaccinated boy's minor head wound led to nearly-fatal tetanus and $800,000 in medical bills, says CDC

Vaccine.
(Image credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

An unvaccinated boy nearly died from tetanus after he busted his head open while playing on a farm, and the CDC says his experience was preventable.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a case study on the boy on Friday, writing that his was the first pediatric case of tetanus in Oregon in more than 30 years.

The boy's wound was stitched and cleaned at home, according to the report. But six days later, his muscles were spasming and he had difficulty breathing. He later received a tracheostomy to allow him to breathe, writes USA Today. The child spent 57 days in the hospital, totaling $811,929 for care and rehabilitation.

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One month after his hospital stay, he was healthy enough to run and use a bicycle. After the whole ordeal, the CDC writes, the family still opted not to vaccinate the boy.

"Despite extensive review of the risks and benefits of tetanus vaccination by physicians, the family declined the second dose of DTaP and any other recommended immunizations," reads the case study. It also says the cost "to treat this child's preventable disease" was 72 times higher than the mean cost of a pediatric hospitalization.

Diseases typically prevented by vaccines are on the rise due to an increase in "anti-vax" adults who fear adverse effects from immunizations. The boy's family's stance on vaccines is unknown.

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