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).
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.”
Let us 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.
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.
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.
Types of Tetanus
A 1940 text still provides some of the most valuable information on Tetanus that there is. It was written before antibiotics, and at a time when people had a very thorough knowledge of tetanus.
There are five kinds of tetanus.
All can be preceded by nonspecific premonitory symptoms such as restlessness, irritability and headache.
1) Subacute tetanus which is characterised by some degree of neck stiffness involving the muscles at the back of the neck; spasticity, as well as increased muscle stretch reflexes, especially in the lower limbs. Patients usually have brief nocturnal generalised spasms.
2) Local tetanus (rare) where the contractions of the muscles are only in the area of the injury. These contractions can persist for weeks when treated by the traditional hospital method.
3) Cephalic tetanus (very rare) which can often occur after otitis media with a burst ear drum, or removal of teeth or dental work, with inappropriate wound management. (But again, host conditions determine the outcome). Clostridium tetani can be found from swabs taken from the middle ear, but sometimes the entry point can be from the cone put in the ear by the doctor to have a look, or from fingers transferring tetanus spores into the ear. The main symptoms for this form of tetanus are in the head and face area.
4) Generalised tetanus (most common sort about 80%) The symptoms start at the head and work down. Reflex spasms normally occur within 24 – 72 hours, known as the “onset time”. First the person will find it hard to open their mouth; will have a stiff neck and have difficulty swallowing.
5) Neonatal tetanus was eliminated from developed countries BEFORE either a vaccine or antibiotics were invented primarily because of basic cleanliness.
Tetanus spores are everywhere in the environment. On your bookcase, in your back yard, in clothing and house dust and in your mouth and feces. Tetanus has been known to follow surgery and innocuous procedures such as skin testing or intramuscular injections of medications and vaccinations themselves.
Clostridium bacteria are especially common in the intestines and feces of rats, guinea pigs, chickens, cats, dogs, sheep, cattle and horses. Approximately 5% of humans have clostridium tetani multiplying in their guts yet don’t even know it, although the 1940 text puts that figure at 25%.
Vaccines Do Not Prevent Tetanus
A tetanus vaccine does NOT protect you from getting tetanus. While the medical profession likes to take the credit for ALL the decline of tetanus courtesy of a vaccine, this is simply NOT true.
The proof of that lies with neonatal tetanus in the developed world, which DISAPPEARED well before the existence of either anti-toxin or a vaccine.
If we look at the documented Tetanus Mortality England & Wales from 1901 to 1999, we find that the administration of tetanus vaccine is likely to be pointless and puts children especially at risk of adverse reactions to the vaccines.
Deaths related to Tetanus and tetanus incidents overall, sharply decreased long before the vaccine was introduced widely during World War II.
Debate as to whether humans can develop circulating antitoxin against tetanus in the absence of vaccination is futile since evidence of natural immunity has been observed globally.
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.
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 the vaccine, 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).”
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.
Tetanus Vaccine Ingredients
There are 15 different tetanus-containing vaccines manufactured by various drug companies, which are licensed in the U.S. The tetanus containing vaccines are licensed for adults only; four are licensed for use as booster shots; one of the vaccines contains tetanus only and is licensed for use by persons age 7 years and older; and the rest are combination vaccines that may contain one or more of the following vaccines: pertussis, diphtheria, hepatitis B, Hib, polio, and/or meningococcal.
As of August 2012, there had been 22,143 adverse events in children and adults reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) following tetanus or tetanus containing vaccines combined with diphtheria vaccine (TT, TD, DT) and 67 deaths.
Severe reported tetanus vaccine adverse events include shock; neuropathy; convulsions; encephalopathy; paralysis; Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS); and death;
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, is found in the ingredients of some of the DTaP formulations which is claimed to prevent bacterial contaminant overgrowth.
The Risks of Tetanus Vaccines Outweigh Any Benefit
According to medical literature, tetanus toxoid is one of the most potent vaccinations 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 vaccination schedules. (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).
In one study 11 healthy subjects receiving the tetanus booster vaccine 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.’
Drugs, vaccines and anti-toxins are a hazard to health. The sick cannot be poisoned into good health.
Other worthy scientific publications linking tetanus vaccines with disease:
Griffin MR, et al, “Risk of seizures and encephalopathy after immunization with the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine,” JAMA 1990 Mar 23 30;263(12):1641-1645.
Blumberg DA, “Severe reactions associated with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine: detailed study of children with seizures, hypotonic-hypo-responsive episodes, high fevers, and persistent crying.”Pediatrics 1993 Jun; 91(6):1158-1165. Vaccinations and Convulsions Citations.
Baraff LJ, “Infants and children with convulsions and hypotonic-hypo-responsive episodes following diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis immunization: follow-up evaluation,” Pediatrics 1988 Jun; 81(6):789-794.
Gross TP, Milstien JB, Kuritsky JN, “Bulging fontanelle after immunization with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus vaccine.” J Pediatr 1989 Mar;114(3):423-425.
Jacob J, Mannino F, “Increased intracranial pressure after diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis immunization.” Am J Dis Child 1979 Feb;133(2):217-218.
Paradiso, G et al, “Multifocal Demyelinating Neuropathy after Tetanus Vaccine”, Medicina (B Aires), 1990, 50(1):52-54.
Walker AM, “Neurologic events following diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis immunization,” Pediatrics 1988 Mar;81(3):345-349.
Greco D, et al, “Case-control study on encephalopathy associated with diphtheria-tetanus immunization in Campania, Italy,” Bull World Health Organ 1985;63(5):919-925.
Baraff, LJ, et al, “Possible Temporal Association Between Diphtheria-tetanus toxoid-Pertussis Vaccination and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome”, Pediatr Infect Disorder, Jan-Feb 1983, 2(1): 5-6.
Flahault A, “Sudden infant death syndrome and diphtheria/tetanus toxoid/pertussis/poliomyelitis immunisation.”, Lancet 1988 Mar 12;1(8585):582-583.
Burmistrova AL, “[Change in the non-specific resistance of the body to influenza and acute respiratory diseases following immunization diphtheria-tetanus vaccine],” Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol 1976; (3):89-91.
Pantazopoulos, PE, “Perceptive Deafness Following Prophylactic use of Tetanus antitoxin”, Laryngoscope, Dec 1965, 75:1832-1836.
Dave Mihalovic is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in vaccine research, cancer prevention and a natural approach to treatment.