A seven-year-old girl has been hospitalised after contracting tetanus from playing in her family’s yard.
The youngster had not been immunized against the potentially fatal disease, which doctors believe was transmitted from the soil via a wound on her foot.
The girl was taken to Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in a critical condition after being transferred from Lismore Base Hospital, NSW.
Tetanus causes painful body spasms but is extremely rare in Australia thanks to widespread vaccination.
The disease cannot be cured, but treatment focuses on managing the complications it causes.
Paediatrician Dr Chris Ingall, who treated the little girl, told ABC News that patients had to be ventilated and paralysed in order the battle the ‘excruciating’ spasms.
‘It's just awful, it's so unnecessary that any child should have to go through this,’ he added.