Child in a critical condition after being diagnosed with tetanus.

A northern New South Wales doctor says a seven-year-old girl was initially treated at Lismore, before being transferred to Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital on Wednesday, reports ABC News.

Lismore paediatrician, Chris Ingall, who treated the girl on Tuesday night, said cases of tetanus were rare in Australia.

“I have seen a number of cases of tetanus, mainly when I was working overseas,” Dr Ingall said.

“Thankfully in Australia it’s had very low rates of prevalence over the last few decades due to vaccination.”

Dr Ingall said the anti-vaccination movement was an ongoing source of frustration for many local health professionals.

“When these campaigners come up with their quasi theories they’re ignoring the fact that tetanus is with us,” he said.

“It’s part of our environment and it’s not going to go away just because they have a fancy theory.

“This is a reality of not vaccinating.”

Dr Ingall said the disease was characterised by excruciating facial and muscle spasms.

“Once they’ve got it [patients] need to be ventilated and paralysed so that their body can live through it,” he said.

“It’s just awful, it’s so unnecessary that any child should have to go through this.

“She’s a lovely little girl, lovely mum, very caring lovely family but a different belief system.”

Tragic wake-up call

Alison Gaylard, from the Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters group, said the case was a tragic wake-up call.

“People need to be made aware that there are still children suffering from vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly in this area,” she said.

“I feel that people put their blinkers on and ignore it, or the information isn’t getting out there.┬áPeople need to know that these diseases occur through lack of vaccination.”

Tetanus is a potentially fatal disease which is transmitted by bacteria in soil, and can enter the bloodstream through minor wounds.

Tetanus is a vaccine preventable disease. Immunisation with a DTPa-containing (diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis) vaccine is the best way to reduce the risk of tetanus in children.

Doses of vaccine are given at two, four and six months of age, with booster doses at 18 months, four years and 10-15 years (dTpa).

We hope this poor little girl makes a full recovery very soon.

Share your comments below.

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  • i wonder if this incident has changed her mind. this is a preventable thing after all.


  • Terrible how children have to suffer because of parental choices. Best get used to it I suppose as the anti vaxxers continue their campaign


  • How horrible. I wonder if that mother feels guilty now that she did not vaccinate or still has the same opinions. So preventable and not necessary to put this child through this.


  • Poor child – a horrible disease – I hope she makes a quick recovery.
    I wonder now will the mother start to vaccinate if she makes a full recovery as her choice in not vaccinating caused this?


  • What a pity – this is such an easy disease to handle with vaccinations. My outdoorsy kids kept up their booster vaccinations until they were in their 20’s.


  • Poor little one suffering for something that can be avoided. I am open to everyone having their own beliefs however I don’t understand why people put their children at risk.


  • living on a property I’ve heard means you’re meant to get hem more regularly too! It’s an awful thing to get


  • I remember as a child I stepped on rusty nails sticking out of fallen fence palings on a least two occasions. I also split my leg open when I fell from a fence and a nail cut my leg as I was falling. I would hate to think what would have happened had I not had tetanus shots.


  • I remember when i was a child that one of the kids in my class got tetanus and nearly died. He was away from school for a very long time but was lucky enough to fully recover.


  • I didn’t realise that was what Tetanus was. Very scary! Hoping for a speedy recovery for the young girl and that she never has to endure it again.


  • No way I would risk my childrens safety by no vaccinating them. There are so many things that are preventable. I wish the little girl a safe and speedy recovery.


  • Hope the little girl recovers quickly, but in the interest of full disclosure this article should have included the fact that the DTaP and Tdap vaccines are both known to cause brain inflammation and brain damage, as per the Vaccine Injury Table maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services in the U.S.; that seizure, speech disorder and death are literally all included in the top 5% to 10% of reported reactions. Tetanus has also been reported as a post-DTaP reaction – rare, but totally unpredictable.

    The article should also have included the fact that tetanus bacteria are anaerobic – that is, they cannot survive in an oxygenated environment. A good cleanse of a wound with hydrogen peroxide will reduce the likelihood of tetanus virtually to zero. In the U.S. population of 315,000,000, there are fewer than 30 cases of tetanus a year, and 80% survive.

    It’s not wise to make decisions based on terribly incomplete information.

    • A low infection rate and high recovery rate in the US…….probably due to vaccinations!


  • Poor wee girl ! Hope & pray she recovers well & soon.


  • Wish her a speedy recovery!


  • Poor girl, so unnecessary for her to go through that. Hope she recovers very quickly. A perfect reason why we should vaccinate and that is not even a disease we spread from person to person.


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