Ranting on Clostridium

Some mommybloggers (along with the P@mpers people) are out there trying to eradicate tetanus in Africa.  Eradicate.  Tetanus.  Anyone with a public health background is now laughing her ass off.  I’ll give you a minute.  Better?

You can’t eradicate any disease that has a reservoir outside the human population (and that’s most of them, in one way or another.)  Smallpox, yes.  Polio, we nearly had it licked (and could very well accomplish it in the future.)  But tetanus?  Tetanus, that lives in the damn dirt in virtually every soil on the planet?  Not. Going. To. Happen. 

It’s all well and good to promote tetanus immunizations (hey, I’m a big pusher of them myself) but you’ll never eradicate tetanus.  Never, ever, in a kazillion years without nuking every soil bacterium on the planet (and even then, tetanus is a tricky to kill spore.)  It can’t be eradicated.  You can immunize every single human being on the planet, and educate your ass off with “how to prevent neonatal tetanus” (first hint, don’t pack umbilical cords with mud) and some folks will *still* get tetanus because no vaccine works in 100% of individuals and we continue to live in a world that has C. tetani in it.   

So…say you want to reduce the incidence of tetanus.  Say you want to prevent tetanus, fine.  Go out and do some vaccination and education, and you may make a nice dent (particularly if you can get Bill Gates to help you out like he’s done with polio.)  But you can’t eradicate it.  So don’t ask me or anyone else to contribute to your tetanus eradication fund.  Unless, of course, you’ll take a personal check written by Santa Claus on paper made by the Tooth Fairy and delivered by one of my flying monkeys.

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2 Comments on “Ranting on Clostridium”

  1. Lawmommy Says:

    I promise, I will never, ever ask you to help eradicate tetanus.

    Also that I will never, EVER, pack an umbilical cord with dirt. EWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

  2. Care Says:

    Bwa ha ha ha ha! Hey, I want a flying monkey too.


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