Travel Vaccines

Exceeding Expectations One Patient at a Time

Tetanus (Lock-jaw)

Facts

Tetanus is caused by a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium tetani.

Clostridium tetani spores are widely distributed in soil worldwide and in animal intestinal tracts

Many Canadians, especially those who are older or were born outside of Canada, do not have protective concentrations of Tetanus anti-toxin.

Percutaneous

Infection with Clostridium tetani introduced into the body through a scratch or wound that is contaminated with soil, animal or human feces or dust.

Since tetanus is caused by a neurotoxin, it is not transmitted person-to-person.

More than 10,000 reported cases worldwide in 2015.

More than 72,000 estimated deaths worldwide in <5 years reported in 2011

 

Symptoms

Stiffness in the jaw muscles (lockjaw), painful muscle spasm (affecting swallowing and breathing), fever, sweating, rapid heartbeat.

Severe case

Suffocation, cardiac arrest, death.

The case-fatality ratio varies between 10-80% in unvaccinated cases and is the highest among infants and the elderly.

Prevention

Prevention against tetanus, including learning about appropriate wound care and vaccination should be considered.

Vaccine

In B.C., the Diphtheria vaccine is in combination with Tetanus (Td-Adsorbed) or in combination with tetanus and pertussis ( Adacel or Boostrix ). It is recommended every ten years for adults who have completed their routine childhood vaccinations.  Travellers must ensure that they are up -to- date with their tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis immunization prior to their trip.

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