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Travel Health Advice - Tetanus

Tetanus

What is it? Tetanus is a spore present in the soil worldwide, which infects open wounds to produce a potent neurotoxin. Symptoms? Muscle spasms, initially lockjaw, followed by sustained back spasms, then generalised seizures, which contribute to the serious complications of tetanus (dysphagia, aspiration pneumonia) and lead to death unless intense supportive treatment is provided. Where is it present? Worldwide. Level of risk? High - any injury producing a wound can lead to tetanus infection. What can I do to prevent getting it? Vaccine, first provided at birth, thereafter booster shots every 10 years. Treatment? A booster dose of Td should generally be used in preference to tetanus toxoid (TT) immediately following a wound.


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