By Magda Taylor,
April, 2003 – The Informed Parent Newsletter, U.K.
The following article is an amalgamation of papers written on tetanus, surrounding the disease, the vaccine, and the host response. Once again it is apparent that there are many uncertainties, lack of understanding, and indeed lack of acknowledging findings that do not support vaccination as regards to tetanus and the cause. It must be stressed that the likelihood of developing tetanus is extremely rare, particularly in young infants in the UK and other developed countries.
Tetanus is unique among the so-called vaccine-preventable diseases as it is not communicable and therefore the ‘herd immunity’ argument is not applicable. Tetanus as a clinical entity is linked to the bacterium Clostridium tetani, however this bacterium is recovered from a wound in only 30% of cases, and is often isolated from patients who have not developed tetanus.
Soil is not the only reservoir, the organism lives as a harmless commensal in the gut of many animals, in addition to humans (rural residents tend to have higher rates of intestinal carriage than city dwellers). Spores have also been detected in street dust and the dust and air of surgical operating theatres.
It is not the bacterium itself that causes the development of tetanus but the toxins it produces under anaerobic conditions. “Under normal conditions, no disease will occur if spores are introduced into a wound.”(J. Ark Med Soc Vol 80, No 3 p134) and “It is the compromised host, or traumatised patient, either by surgery or accident, who is most apt to develop tetanus.” (J Foot Surgery Vol 23, No 3 p235). When the conditions are right, an exotoxin (called tetanospasmin) is released from the localised area and transported into the central nervous system. The incubation period has been reported to vary from 1 day to several months, but the majority of cases occur within 3-21 days following inoculation of spores.
In ‘Vaccines’ by Plotkin & Mortimer, it states that ‘Incubation periods of 10 days or more tend to result in mild cases whereas persons who develop illness within 7 days of injury tend to have more severe disease.’ However it is admitted in the same text that ‘For the most recent few years, no such relationship is observed.”
The geographical distribution of tetanus across the globe generally follows the areas of moist, warm climate and fertile soil – the highest rates occur in the developing world, particularly in countries near the equator.
Most people associate tetanus with the wound from a rusty nail or deep puncture wound where it is difficult for oxygen to reach. These kind of wounds account for just over half of the cases in the developed countries, as other causes have been observed, i.e. middle-ear infection, tonsillitis, appendicitis, dental infection, abortions and in some cases there is neither a history of injury, nor a detectable wound! Also laboratory investigations frequently produce negative results.
Tetanus is extremely rare in the developed world, and according to the UK Dept of Health book ‘Immunisation Against Infectious Disease’ (1996): ‘Between 1984 and 1995 there were 145 cases of tetanus in England and Wales. 75% occurred in individuals over 45 years, and of the remainder, 16% were in individuals from 25-44 years.’ It also concludes that the highest risk group is the elderly, with women being at greater risk than men.
At the beginning of the 1900s the annual death-rate was 7 per million population compared to, for example, whooping cough death-rate, which was 1000 per million children, so even then it was relatively rare considering the living conditions and the deposits by horse-drawn transport still in use.
Tetanus neonatorum is the most common form of tetanus in developing countries. This form of generalised tetanus occurring in the new-born infants is often as a result of an infected umbilical cord stump due to poor hygiene and the use of dirty, rusty scissors when cutting the cord. In the United States, the occurrence of neonatal tetanus was falling before the use of tetanus toxoid became widespread in women, due to improved birth practice.
Why debate continues over whether humans can develop circulating antitoxin against tetanus in the absence of vaccination or disease is a mystery, since evidence of natural immunity has been observed. Although there have been conflicting results, some studies in Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Italy, Israel, Spain and the USSR have shown substantial proportions of unimmunised populations with detectable levels of antitoxin. Specifically, up to 80% of persons in India and up to 95% of persons in a group of Ethiopian refugees had levels of antitoxin suggestive of protection. It is admitted by medical experts that this phenomenon has not been adequately studied, and yet it is apparent that when unexpected or undesirable findings emerge, rather than acknowledging the results, it is presented as an ongoing debate!
The development of tetanus by a deep puncture injury is known not to induce any subsequent immunity, which then raises the serious question – how is a vaccine able to produce any long-term immunity? Proper and natural immunity is achieved by the ingestion of tetanus spores through natural entry, stimulating the immune system at all levels in an appropriate way. Critics of vaccination often highlight the fact that injecting foreign antigen into the body by-passes a branch of the immune system leading to a compromised host. Dr Viera Scheibner, a researcher on the ineffectiveness and dangers of vaccination, points out that any injection is a deep-puncture wound, so that is why contracting tetanus through a wound does not produce any long-term proper immunity because of the similar action to a vaccination, i.e. the by-passing of our multi-levelled immune system due to unnatural entry.
With an obvious lack of understanding on this aspect, from the world health ‘experts’ of the day, it is surprising that their general conclusion is that ‘even if natural immunity occurs in some populations, it can not be relied on to control tetanus.’ In 1973, of the estimated one million tetanus deaths throughout the world, 60 to 90% were due to neonatals (in otherwords most tetanus cases). Clearly the most simple and effective way to reduce this problem would be improved hygiene in childbirth practices, along side obvious health improvements for the population at large.
Symptoms of Tetanus
Irritability, restlessness, headaches/ muscle twitching and spasms, progressing to pain and stiffness in jaw , abdomen or back. This can lead to ‘lockjaw’ and in severe cases may cause the difficulty in swallowing, spasm of the respiratory muscles necessitating artificial ventilation, and in some cases, death. Characteristically the symptoms worsen for three days, remain stable for the next 5-7 days and by two weeks may have disappeared all together. Most survivors recover completely in 4 weeks, and all the effects appear to be self-limiting because those who recover from the disease have no residual defect.
Early medical literature shows clearly that the treatment of choice was vitamin C in all toxin-mediated diseases. Vitamin C in large enough doses to enter the bloodstream will start neutralising the toxins present in the bloodstream, although this will not neutralise any toxins already in the central nervous system. Also studies have shown B vitamins can also reduce the intensity of spasms, which also confirms that diet has a profound effect on the ability of the immune system.
The most common homeopathic remedies for suspected cases of tetanus are ledum and hypericum, which have proven to be of great value in the prevention of the disease for more than a century. However it is strongly advisable to seek advice from a qualified practitioner for individualised, preventative and remedial treatments.
It appears that prompt and adequate care of wounds is of major importance in preventing tetanus disease. Profound wound cleansing is an important measure and the wound should be allowed to bleed freely, since this eliminates bacteria and infected matter from the wound and supplies oxygen through the blood stream. Wounds should be left open to the air, until completely clean, which also allows them to heal from the base up, before stitched. Application of hydrogen peroxide (3%) is very useful as it releases oxygen in high concentration.
The vaccine is made from the tetanus toxoid inactivated with formaldehyde. To produce the toxoid the bacterium is cultured in liquid medium in large-capacity fermenters. The medium consists of digestive enzymes of milk protein, allegedly free of contaminants, which is harvested by filtration, purified and detoxified. The vaccine also contains aluminium hydroxide or phosphate, which acts as an adjuvant (any substance used in conjunction with another to enhance its activity), and thimerorsal, a mercury-containing compound, which prevents bacterial contaminant overgrowth.
In 1979, the WHO attempted to standardise the content of tetanus toxoid preparations. However, immune responses varied in laboratory animals e.g. the response in mice varies greatly depending on the mouse strain used….. so the response in humans can vary greatly, therefore an international standard has not been adopted.
According to medical literature, tetanus toxoid is one of the most potent immunising agents used routinely in children with protective levels being obtained with schedules that start in the newborn period. Apparently in contrast to the diphtheria toxoid, which is clearly impeded in the presence of passively transferred maternal anti-toxin, the tetanus toxoid has been considered to be minimally inhibited by maternal antitoxin. However, interestingly enough, studies in US have shown that infants have high levels of circulating tetanus antitoxin, well above the protective level, at 2 months of age before beginning immunisation. (Barkin RM et al. DTP reactions and serologic response with a reduced dose schedule, J Pediatr 105: 189-94, 1984. – Barkin RM et al Pediatric diphtheria and tetanus toxoids vaccine. J Pediatr 106: 779-81, 1985).
Better vaccination coverage of target populations is the main focus for future tetanus control by the medical establishment. However, they state that ‘a sense of diligence’ must remain in investigating the apparent failure of the tetanus toxoid in preventing disease. A case-control study in Bangladesh, conducted in 1990, estimated the efficacy of a 2-dose regime to be below 50%. Other studies have been consistent with these findings and further examinations of the potency of tetanus toxoid in other nations is under way. No doubt it will be a lengthy process with further on-going debate.
Some researchers have apparently suggested that active immunisation of foetuses can occur as a consequence of the vaccination of mothers during pregnancy, and this research has opened up numerous possibilities into the prevention of other diseases and new vaccine regimes.
Vaccines containing tetanus are the Td, DTP, DTaP, Hib/DTaP, Hib/DTwP. Single tetanus has recently been replaced by the Td, this is apparently being done due to the concern of low levels of diphtheria immunity in older people.
The Dept of Health recommend five doses of Td during a lifetime- 3 doses in first year, followed by boosters at pre-school and school leaving age, since they admit that further boosters have been shown to be unnecessary and can cause considerable local reactions.
Regarding vaccine side-effects, apart from the general – redness, swelling/pain at the site, fever, headache etc there have been numerous side-effects published in medical literature over the years. Conditions, such as, allergic, neurological, cardiac, rheumatic, gastro-intestinal reactions have been well documented. In one study 11 healthy subjects receiving the tetanus toxoid produced a lowering of the t-lymphocyte helpers/suppressor ratio such as might be seen in patients with AIDS. (NEJM,1984, 310:198-9. Eibi MM et al Abnormal T-lymphocyte subpopulations in healthy subjects after tetanus booster.)
In an article on tetanus by Dr Kris Gaublomme, a medically qualified homeopath and vaccine researcher, he concludes with:
’The overwhelming amount of literature on tetanus toxoid vaccine adverse side-effects and the severity of those complications make it absolutely impossible to ridicule them as rare and benign. Doing so could only demonstrate a profound lack of knowledge of the literature concerned. Some medical professionals insist on having adrenalin readily available when tetanus toxoid is administered, thus admitting that the vaccination is in fact a life-threatening medical intervention, even in apparently healthy individuals. This speaks for itself. Risking one’s life by an intervention which is probably ineffective, to avoid a disease which will probably never occur, is not sound medical practice. All it takes, on a world scale, to avoid the majority of tetanus cases is clean scissors to cut the newborn’s cord. Information, soap and peroxide might do a far better job than tetanus vaccine.’
And of course it should go without saying, that the promotion of a healthy and balanced lifestyle, physically and emotionally, is the absolute best way to prevent yourself and your family creating the right internal environment for rare conditions such as tetanus to develop in the first place!!
1. Vaccines by Plotkin & Mortimer. Chapter on Tetanus Toxoid
2. Tetanus Toxoid Vaccination. An overview by Dr K Gaublomme, IVN Sept 1996.
3. Tetanus article by Dr J Donegan, May 2002
4. Tetanus by H Butler and P Mancer, WAVES, Vol 11 No 1 p19-22
5. Immunisation Against Infectious Disease. DoH 1996.
6. The Role of Medicine – T. McKeown (1979)
7. Dr Viera Scheibner – personal communication
* * *
Tetanus – Question & Answer
The late Dr Robert Mendelsohn became an outspoken critic of vaccination programmes, and ran a popular medical column – The People’s Doctor, in US national newspapers (published between 1976-88).
Reproduced here are some of his comments in response to a question on tetanus. Taken from ‘The People’s Doctor,’ Vol 8 No. 12, it reads:
1. Q. Ever since my daughter was born almost three years ago, I have been compiling an extensive file on the pros and cons of vaccinations. So far, she remains unimmunised, but one serious worry remains in my mind. Should she be immunised against tetanus? Most anti-vaccination people seem to feel that the tetanus shot is the lesser of two evils — I am told that tetanus germs are everywhere.
I realise you have changed your advice from pro-tetanus for everyone to only for farm dwellers, and we do not live on a farm. If I choose not to vaccinate my child , what if she winds up in a hospital emergency room badly cut or with a puncture wound?–M H
2. A. You have every right to closely question me on the tetanus vaccine, since that was the last vaccine I abandoned. It wasn’t hard for me to give up vaccines for whooping cough, measles, and rubella because of their disabling and sometimes deadly side-effects. The mumps vaccine, a high-risk low-benefit product, struck me and plenty of other doctors as silly from the moment it was introduced.
Arguments for the diphtheria vaccine were vitiated by epidemics during the past 15 years which showed the same death rate and the same severity of illness in those who were vaccinated vs. those who were not vaccinated. As for smallpox, even the government finally gave up that vaccine in 1970, and I gave up on the polio vaccine when Jonas Salk showed that the best way to catch polio in the United States was to be near a child who recently had taken the Sabin vaccine. But the tetanus vaccine exercised a hold on me for a much longer time.
As you point out, I gave up belief in this vaccine in stages. For a while, I still held onto the notion that farm families and people who work around stables should continue to take tetanus shots. But in spite of my early indoctrination with fear of “rusty nails,” in recent years, I have developed a greater fear of the hypodermic needle.
My reasons are:
1. Scientific evidence shows that too-frequent tetanus boosters actually may interfere with the immune reaction
2. There has been a gradual retreat of even the most conservative authorities from giving tetanus boosters every one year to every two years to every five years to every 10 years (as now recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics), and according to some, every 20 years. All these numbers are based on guesses rather than on hard scientific evidence.
3. There has been a growing recognition that no controlled scientific study (in which half the patients were given the vaccine and the other half were given injections of sterile water) has ever been carried out to prove the safety and effectiveness of the tetanus vaccine. Evidence for the vaccine comes from epidemiologic studies which are by nature controversial and which do not satisfy the criteria for scientific proof.
4. The tetanus vaccine over the decades has been progressively weakened in order to reduce the considerable reaction (fever and swelling) it used to cause. Accompanying this reduction in reactivity has been a concomitant reduction in antigenicity (the ability to confer protection).
5. Until the last few years, government statistics admitted that 40% of the child population of the US was not immunised. For all those decades, where were the tetanus cases from all those rusty nails?
6. There now exists a growing theoretical concern which links immunisations to the huge increase in recent decades of auto-immune diseases, e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus erythematosus, lymphoma, and leukaemia. In one case, Guillain-Barre paralysis from swine flu vaccine, the relationship turned out to be more than just theoretical.
Risks of tetanus vaccine
In preparing my courtroom testimony on behalf of a child who allegedly was brain-damaged as a result of the DPT vaccine, I reviewed the package insert for the Connaught Laboratories product which was administered to this child. The 1975 and 1977 package insert information which measured seven-and-a-half inches long, listed 3 scientific references in support of the indications, contra-indications, warnings, cautions, and adverse reactions to this vaccine. By 1978, the length of the insert had grown to 13.5 inches, and the number of scientific references had increased to 11. By 1980, the insert was 18 inches long, and the references numbered 14. Of those newly-added references, seven dealt specifically with reactions to the tetanus DPT portion of the toxoid vaccine.
An article in the Archives of Neurology (1972) described brachial plexus neuropathy (which can lead to paralysis of the arm) from tetanus toxoid. 4 patients who received only tetanus toxoid noticed the onset of limb weakness from six to 21 days after the inoculation. A 1966 article published in the JAMA reports the first case of “Perepheral Neuropathy following Tetanus Toxoid Administration.” A 23-year-old white medical student received an injection of tetanus toxoid into the right upper arm after an abrasion of the right knee while playing tennis. Several hours later, he developed a wrist drop of his right hand. He later suffered from complete motor and sensory paralysis over the distribution of the right radial nerve (one of the major nerves innervating the arm and hand). One month later, no residual motor or sensory deficit could be found.
Reference is made to an article in the Journal of Neurology, 1977, entitled “Unusual Neurological Complication following Tetanus Toxoid Administration.” The author reports a 36-year-old female who received tetanus toxoid in her left upper arm following a wound to her finger. Five days later, she noticed a weakness first of the right, and then of the left arm and later of both legs. She complained of dizziness, instability, lethargy, chest discomfort, difficulty in swallowing, and inarticulate speech. She staggered when she walked, and she could take only a few steps. Her EEG showed some abnormalities. After a month, she was discharged without neurological disturbance, but she continued to feel weak and anxious. Examinations during the next 11 months showed continued emotional instability and paresthesias (numbness and tingling) in the extremities. The medical diagnosis was “a rapidly progressing neuropathy with involvement of cranial nerves, myelopathy, and encephalopathy.”
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 1973, carried an article entitled “Hypersensitivity to Tetanus Toxoid,” and in a volume entitled “Proceedings of the II International Conference on Tetanus” (1967), an article appeared entitled “Clinical Reactions to Tetanus Toxoid.”
A 44-year-old article in the JAMA (1940) was entitled “Allergy Induced by Immunisation with Tetanus Toxoid.” That same year, an article in the BMJ reported on “Anaphylaxis following Administration of Tetanus Toxoid.” In 1969, a German medical journal reported a case of paralysis of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (nerve to voice box) after a booster injection of tetanus toxoid. The patient developed hoarseness and was unable to speak loudly, but the nerve paralysis subsided completely after approximately 2 months.
Should your doctor reassure you that tetanus vaccine is completely safe, or that “the benefits outweigh the risks,” or that you should have the shot “just in case,” why not share these citations with him?
Reprinted in Issue 2-2003 of The Informed Parent.
Tetanus – one naturopath’s view
Extract from: Tetanus by Dr Alec Burton, ND, DO, DC. Republished in The Hygienist, BNHS, Autumn 1995.
It is popularly believed that tetanus is caused by a germ, clostridium tetani, which gains entry to the tissues through a wound. That is, tetanus results from an “infected” injury which may be of a minor nature. “Pathology” edited by Dr Anderson, 5th edition, 1966, states: “The site of local infection may be quite inconspicuous, and in an appreciable number of cases it cannot be demonstrated at all.” How virulent is the germ? Just how does it damage the tissues and cause tetanus? The clostridium tetani is relatively innocuous but it elaborates a certain toxin, tetanospasmin, the effects of which are hard to determine. Drs. Cecil and Loeb, in their Textbook of Medicine, say “Tetanus toxin fails to produce any recognisable pathological lesions in the tissues it affects, nor do any specific changes occur at the site of infection by the clostridium tetani.” But in “Pathology” a different view is expressed. “Tetanus is primarily a disease of nervous tissue, the result of injury by tetanus toxin.”
The tetanus bacterium is ubiquitous. It is not here today gone tomorrow. It is found on the surface of the body, in the mouth, in the gastro-intestinal tract, in house dust and clothing. It occurs extensively in cultivated soils. In spite of the ubiquity of the so-called cause, the incidence of tetanus is significantly low.
“The disease proper is unquestionably caused by the tetanus toxin……” state Drs Cecil and Loeb, and then they proceed to tell us “….but the mechanisms whereby it is absorbed and produces its effects are still largely unknown.” Yet we read a little later that “The mode of action of the tetanus toxin is entirely unknown.” Is it “largely” or “entirely” unknown? Is it “questionably” or “unquestionably” caused by the tetanus toxin? How confused these authors are is clearly demonstrated by their self-contradictions and uncertainty. Such comments as “led to the theory,” “it was assumed,” “it was also assumed,” “additional support for both points of view,” and “convincingly shown the probable correctness of the first theory” all tend to confirm that they do not know the cause of tetanus.
The idea of a specific cause dies hard. It is so easy to believe that a germ or a virus has “invaded” the tissues and for this reason we are sick. It is plausible and at least saves us the trouble of thinking. Louis Pasteur was the architect of the “Germ Theory” but he soon realised that his theory raised more problems than it solved. When he announced, after his early enthusiasm had matured. “The soil is all” no one was interested in what he had to say, it was not commercially exploitable.
Let us carefully consider some of the facts reported in the medical literature in 1920, Sir Leonard Hill said in a report to the Medical Research Committee, “Tetanus and gas gangrene bacilli washed clean and injected are innocuous.” In ‘A System of Bacteriology’ Vol III, page 307, Drs Bosanquet and Eyre say “The bacilli are in pure culture incapable of vegetating in viro,” ie of multiplying in the body. Furthermore, in the Official History of the War, Pathology 1923, it is stated “Tetanus bacilli have been found in 20% of war wounds although no symptoms of tetanus were present, ” and “in 50% of undoubted tetanus cases the bacilli have been undiscoverable.” In the same volume also appears clostridium tetani has been “cultivated from the wound of a man showing no evidence of tetanus, 882 days after it had been inflicted,” and “it has been realised during the war that the tetanus bacillus or its spores may be present in vast numbers of wounds without producing tetanus.”
We may deduce from the above facts that we have, as the cause of tetanus, a bacterium which is (a) harmless in pure culture (b) incapable of multiplying in the body (c) absent in 50% of cases of undoubted tetanus (d) present in 20% of cases where no tetanus symptoms appeared and often remaining in the body for months or years without producing symptoms. This is certainly a peculiar cause.
It is thought that whilst the bacteria themselves are somewhat feeble, their spores may remain dormant in the tissues for lengthy periods. If this is so, what are the factors which enable the spores to develop into bacteria and elaborate their toxins? What causes them to become active? Why do they remain dormant for long periods? As yet the answers to these questions are not forthcoming. They could supply the answer to the cause of the disease, in fact, all disease, for these questions obviously concern the host rather than the bacteria, and it is to the host that we must look for causes. Here we will find the cause of tetanus, not in some microscopic piece of protoplasm which we endow with almost omnipotent properties. Bacterial diseases, so-called, have a biochemical basis. The tetanus bacteria may be a factor in tetanus. The toxin may be involved in some way but that these are fundamental causes is nonsense, otherwise the disease would be more common, in view of the fact that the bacteria is so frequently found on and in our bodies.
Tetanus is a rare disease considering the probable number of wounds which must be “infected” with the germ, yet it is sufficiently serious to necessitate the employment of preventative measures. Medically, it is claimed that an anti-toxin serum is successful in preventing tetanus and is helpful in treating the disease. Hygienists contravert this popular dogma that disease may be prevented or “cured” by the introduction of foreign organic substances into the body, and I shall attempt to show that the anti-toxin serum and toxoid employed to prevent and treat tetanus are of no value.
Horse serum (clear part of blood) is used against tetanus and has the reputation of producing “anaphylactic reactions,” more commonly than the other sera. The “preventative” toxoid consists of cultured and killed “causal” germs. Do these “immunising” agents prevent the development of tetanus? Do they have any influence upon the disease once symptoms are evident? Is there any statistical evidence to show that the incidence of the disease is influenced by the employment of anti-toxin or toxoid?
The following is taken from the Medical Press, Nov 3, 1948. “The not infrequent failure of tetanus anti-toxin prophylactically is indicated by the fact that deaths from tetanus occur in 7% of civilian cases and 50% of military cases, in spite of its use.” From the Medical History of the Second World War, Medicine and Pathology, we note, “It is disappointing to find that the case mortality is the same as in 1914-18. There is still no convincing evidence that anti-tetanic serum possesses curative value.” Many more such statements from strictly “orthodox” sources could be quoted to consolidate our claim that the serum is incapable of affording any protection against tetanus. However, we must now turn to another important aspect concerning the employment of the serum.
Is there any danger associated with the injection of sera, and if there is, does any test exist which can show the probability of the development of “allergic reactions” in a particular patient. There can be serious effects following the introduction of tetanus anti-toxin into the body and there is no valid method of revealing the possibility of these side effects beforehand. Most textbooks on bacteriology point out the ‘fallibility of the intradermal sensitivity test.” The so-called allergic manifestations may appear immediately following the injection or they may be delayed for 1-14 days. Early “reactions” to toxoid include anaphylactic shock, unconsciousness and death. The later reactions may be chills, fever, urticaria, angioneurotic oedema, swollen lymph glands, pains in the muscles and joints. The anti-toxin may prove fatal but there is also another hazard associated with the dangerous yet dramatic practice of transfusing blood. Dr Meyer in his book “Side Effects of Drugs,” has this to say: “Six cases of transfusion reactions occurred in 8 recipients with blood of O donors previously vaccinated with anti-toxins (diphtheria and tetanus anti-toxins).”
I think it is desirable and necessary to discuss briefly the problems of “hypersensitivity” which medical men are frequently mentioning. They refuse to blame the drugs, vaccine and sera for the “reactions” which follow their administration, but assert that the patient was “sensitive”. All this means is that the drug was not to blame. The blame was the patient’s. He or she was “sensitive”. To a greater or lesser degree, we are all sensitive to poisons, that is, when poisons are taken into the body through any channel, an attempt is made to resist these poisons, to expel them or to neutralise them, to get rid of them, to destroy them. In the process of neutralising, expelling and resisting the poisons acute symptoms are the actions of the body, not the drug or serum, actions of the body defending itself against the poison.
Finally what is the real cause of tetanus? How may it be prevented, and how may a patient recover once tetanus has developed? The real cause of tetanus is not a germ, but dirt and filth. The bacteria are harmless when placed into a surgically clean wound. Tetanus develops when drainage of a wound is checked and dirt is retained in the tissues. The bacilli do not circulate in the blood. They remain at the point of entry and produce toxins. One of these poisons, tetanospasmin, is one of the most dangerous poisons known to man which occasions vigorous activity in the nervous tissues. The other toxin, tetano-lycin, occasions a breakdown of the blood cells. If good drainage is facilitated from the beginning, tetanus will not result from a wound. If tetanus has developed, an incision should be made to afford drainage, removing the foreign matter, and once the wound is drained and cleaned, the bacteria will not be able to elaborate the powerful toxins which are poison in the body. Once the poisoning ceases, the patient will start to recover. The ability to combat, destroy and eliminate the toxins will depend on the health and vigour of the patient. The patient suffering from tetanus should be put to bed, permitted to rest, kept warm and fasting should be immediately instituted. They should receive all the salubrious hygienic influences and the fasting should be continued until all symptoms have disappeared. Wounds should never be permitted to become pent-up. Drainage must be afforded, and if this is done, there is no danger. Drugs, anti-toxins, are a hazard to health. The sick cannot be poisoned into good health.
Reprinted in Issue 2-2003 of The Informed Parent.