Sep 03 , 2022
Tetanus is a dangerous bacterial illness that affects the neurological system and produces muscular tightness throughout the body. Because the illness frequently produces muscular spasms in the jaw and neck, it's also known as lockjaw. It can, however, spread to other regions of the body.
Without treatment, a tetanus infection can be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10 to 20% of tetanus infections are deadly.
Pakistan is one of the 34 countries that have not achieved the neonatal tetanus (NT) global elimination target set by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is one of the most underreported diseases and remains a major but preventable cause of neonatal and infant mortality in many developing countries.
Pakistan is third among countries with the most unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children. Of the 3.8 million infants who did not receive their third dose of DTP3 vaccine in the Region in 2015, 40% of those were in Pakistan.
Tetanus is caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani. Bacterial spores can be found in dust, soil, and animal droppings. Spores are microscopic reproductive bodies that certain species create. They're frequently resistant to tough climatic circumstances like high heat.
When these spores reach the bloodstream through a cut or severe incision, they can infect a person. The bacteria spores then spread to the central nervous system and produce tetanospasmin, a toxin. This toxin is a chemical that prevents nerve impulses from travelling from your spinal cord to your muscles. This may result in severe muscular spasms.
Tetanus symptoms often appear 7 to 10 days after the initial infection. However, this can take anything from four days to three weeks, and in extreme circumstances, months.
In general, the longer the incubation time, the farther the damage site is from the central nervous system. Patients with shorter incubation durations typically have more severe symptoms.
Spasms and stiffness are two muscle complaints. The chewing muscles are frequently the first to stiffen, thus the moniker lockjaw.
Muscle spasms then migrate to the neck and throat, making swallowing difficult. Patients frequently have facial muscular spasms. Neck and chest muscular tightness might cause breathing issues. Abdominal and leg muscles are also impacted in certain persons.
As the back muscles weaken, the spine will arch backward in extreme instances. This is more likely in children who have had a tetanus infection.
Most people who have tetanus will also have the following symptoms:
- stools that are bloody
- touch sensitivity painful throat sweating fast heartbeat
Tetanus is not commonly diagnosed with laboratory techniques. However, your doctor may still order blood testing to rule out disorders that exhibit similar symptoms. Meningitis, a bacterial infection that affects the brain and spinal cord, and rabies, a viral infection that causes brain swelling, are two examples.
The intensity of your symptoms determines your treatment. Tetanus is usually treated with a combination of therapy and drugs, including:
drugs such as penicillin to kill bacteria in your system tetanus immune globulin (TIG) to neutralise toxins produced by bacteria in your body muscle relaxers to regulate muscular spasms
a tetanus vaccination used in conjunction with wound cleansing to eliminate the source of the bacterium
Debridement, a surgical treatment, is done in some circumstances to remove dead or contaminated tissue. If you are having trouble eating and breathing, you may require a breathing tube or a ventilator (a machine that moves air in and out of the lungs).
Most cases of tetanus occur in people who have never had the vaccine or who did not have a booster shot within the previous decade.
Tetanus vaccine is frequently administered to children as part of the diphtheria, tetanus toxoids, and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccination.
The DTaP vaccine consists of five doses, which are normally administered to children when they are old enough:
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 15 to 18 months
- 4 to 6 years
Typically, a booster is administered between the ages of 11 and 18 years, followed by another booster every 10 years. If a person is going to a place where tetanus is frequent, they should consult a doctor about vaccines.
Anyone who has not gotten a booster injection in the past 5 years and has a serious or filthy wound should have one.
Currently tetanus has a roughly 11% mortality rate. Tetanus-induced severe muscular spasms can potentially lead to major health complications, such as:
- Fractures: In extreme situations, muscular spasms and convulsions can result in bone fractures.
- Aspiration pneumonia occurs when secretions or stomach contents are inhaled, resulting in a lower respiratory tract infection and pneumonia.
- Laryngospasm i.e spasm of the voice box.
- Tetanic seizures: If the tetanus infection travels to the brain, the patient may undergo fits.
- Pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood artery in the lung becomes clogged, impairing breathing and circulation.
- Kidney failure is severe (acute renal failure).
Considering how adversely tetanus can affect us it is important to keep track of the vaccination for tetanus even if we had completed course in childhood, and all infants must have access to tetanus vaccine. Dr. Essa Laboratory & Diagnosis provide free of cost EPI vaccinations, visit now or WhatsApp or call on UAN: +92 21 111 786 986.