A toddler is in a stable condition in hospital following the first confirmed case of tetanus in a South Australian child in 17 years.

Health officials are urging parents to ensure their children are fully vaccinated against tetanus and other diseases, reports The Advertiser.

“Sadly, we have been notified of the first tetanus case in South Australia since 2013 and the first case we have seen in a child since 2000,” Prof Paddy Phillips said.

“Tetanus is an uncommon but very serious disease that can be fatal, particularly in infants and the elderly, but there is an effective vaccine that is part of the National Immunisation Program.

“I urge all parents to make sure their children receive the full course of childhood vaccines at the recommended times to prevent potentially deadly diseases like tetanus.”

SA Health’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paddy Phillips encouraged parents to have their children immunised, saying the risk of getting a preventable disease far outweigh the risks from a vaccine.

The diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccination is given to children at six weeks, four months and six months, with booster doses at 18 months, four years and in Year 8 as part of the National Immunisation Program.

“Childhood vaccinations are particularly vital as children are more susceptible to illness and early immunisation can prevent deaths in childhood as well as disease and disability later in life,” he said.

“Some people have concerns about vaccination, but they should be reassured that the risk from getting a disease far outweighs the risk from immunising against it.

“I encourage all parents to visit their GP to ensure their children are appropriately vaccinated for their age.”

In March we shared the story of a seven-year-old NSW girl who was in a critical condition after being diagnosed with tetanus. Read her story here.

Related story – Mum shares 10 things parents who don’t vaccinate need to know

Earlier this week it was revealed that from July, Family Tax Benefit A payments will be reduced by $28 a fortnight for each child who does not meet the immunisation requirements – read more on that here.

Share your comments below.

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  • make sure that you are on schedule with these vaccines. it is the best thing that you can do for your kids and your community


  • You would all make sure your children were vaccinated every five years against this particular disease if you ever saw someone suffer with it prior to dying. There is no cure for this and the suffering is unbelievable. My children were vaccinated every five years until they were in their 20s and then the defence forces kept up the procedure.


  • Yes, the consequences can in fact be fatal. I remember many years a child had tetanus. I believe it is a very painful disease. Once our GP had just been to see a child who had tetanus and was very distressed when he called in to see me when I was sick. During a conversation he told us about the patient and how it could so easily have been prevented. We were never told who the patient was but at a later consult we were told that the child had passed away in horrific pain as painkillers didn’t work.


  • another reason we will still see a heated debate about whether to vaccinate or not – I want to protect my kiddo’s so they are fully vaccinated – I didn’t realise that they get needles again in grade 8 – so that was good to read about.

    I really wish that the young child makes a full recovery -


  • You do realize that we lose almost a hundred babies a year in Australia to sudden death following their vaccinations, with this one being the worst. So we should do this to prevent one case of tetanus in 17 years?


  • When are these parents going to learn? They don’t vaccinate because they don’t want “poison” in their children’s bodies… but tetanus is ok?


  • I am always saddened when I read or hear about children suffering. I am glad the little one has stabilised.


  • Vaccination is so important – the consequences of not vaccinating can be dreadful.


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