What is Tetanus
Tetanus is a non-communicable disease contracted through exposure to the spores of the bacterium called Clostridium tetani. These bacteria are commonly found in the environment within soil, dust and manure. If bacteria contaminate wounds, they produce the toxin which causes tetanus symptoms. The bacteria can contaminate wounds, where they produce a toxin which causes symptoms of painful muscular contractions and spasms.
Signs and symptoms of Tetanus
Tetanus is an acute disease characterized by painful muscular contractions and spasms. Signs of Tetanus are as follows:-
- Sudden, involuntary muscle tightening (muscle spasms) — often in the stomach
- Painful muscle stiffness all over the body
- Trouble swallowing
- Jerking or staring (seizures)
- Fever and sweating
- Changes in blood pressure and a fast heart rate
Is Tetanus Fatal
Tetanus requires treatment in a medical facility, often in a referral hospital. Neonatal tetanus, which is mostly fatal, is particularly common in difficult to reach and rural areas where deliveries take place at home without adequate sterile procedures and in unclean environment. People who recover from tetanus do not have natural immunity and can be infected again and therefore need to be immunized.
Treatment of Tetanus
Tetanus is a medical emergency requiring care in the hospital and immediate treatment with medicine called human tetanus immune globulin (TIG). It also require
- Aggressive wound care
- Drugs to control muscle spasms
- Tetanus Vaccination
Tetanus can be prevented through immunization with tetanus-toxoid-containing vaccines (TTCV). Neonatal tetanus can be prevented by immunizing women of reproductive age with TTCV, either during pregnancy or outside of pregnancy. This protects the mother and – through a transfer of tetanus antibodies to the fetus – also her baby. To be protected throughout life, WHO recommends that an individual receives 6 doses (3 primary plus 3 booster doses) of TTCV through routine immunization. The 3-dose primary series should begin as early as 6 weeks of age, with subsequent doses given with a minimum interval of 4 weeks between doses. The 3 booster doses should preferably be given during the second year of life (12-23 months), at 4-7 years, and at 9-15 years of age. Ideally, there should be at least 4 years between booster doses.