As with most vaccines, we have been led to believe that a tetanus shot is a necessity to protect us from a supposedly virulent germ that can lead us to our death. When we carefully consider some of the facts on tetanus reported in the medical literature, we find many contradictions, inconsistencies and even falsities in relation to actual facts on the bacteria that produces the neurotoxin. If spores of the bacteria have been found in vast numbers of wounds without producing any tetanus, then why is it considered such a threat at all?
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.
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. 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). In spite of the ubiquity of the so-called cause, the incidence of tetanus is significantly low.
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). Continue Reading