Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Cases Remain a Worldwide Concern

Inactive tetanus toxoid vaccines prevent tetanus by developing immunity against Clostridium tetani toxin
new born baby in a hospital

According to a new industry report, tetanus vaccines are projecting 5.3 percent annual revenue increase.

Which means this vaccine-preventable disease continues to harm people worldwide.

Tetanus is different from other vaccine-preventable diseases because it does not spread from person to person. Tetanus is an infectious disease caused by the Clostridium tetani toxin characterized by muscle spasms, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The bacteria are usually found in soil, dust, and manure and enter the body through breaks in the skin.

In the USA, nearly all reported tetanus cases are among people who have never received a tetanus vaccine, or adults who don’t stay up to date on their 10-year booster shots says the CDC.

The tetanus vaccine, initially developed in 1924, has resulted in a 95 percent decrease in USA cases.

Only 30 tetanus cases are reported each year, says CDC.

About 10% of those infected with tetanus die, while others become incapacitated, due to bone fractures. 

Worldwide, there were 13,502 reported tetanus cases reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) during 2016.

All WHO countries are committed to "elimination" of maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT), which has been among the most common life-threatening consequences of unclean deliveries and umbilical cord care practices.

WHO estimates that in 2015, 34,019 newborns died from MNT, which is a 96 percent reduction from the late 1980s.

As of March 2018, only 14 countries have not eliminated MNT, said the WHO. 

MNT deaths can be easily prevented by hygienic delivery and cord care practices, and/or by immunizing children and women with Tetanus Toxoid Containing Vaccines (TTCV).

The tetanus toxoid vaccine is an inactive vaccine used to prevent tetanus by developing immunity against the toxin causing tetanus.

Being up to date with your tetanus vaccine is the best tool to prevent tetanus.

But, protection from vaccines, as well as a prior infection, do not last a lifetime.

This means that if you had tetanus or were vaccinated before, you still need to get vaccinated regularly to keep a high level of protection against this serious disease.

Tetanus vaccines are recommended for people of all ages, with booster shots throughout life. The vaccine also is considered very safe even during pregnancy and for those with HIV.

The general dosage recommendation is five doses during childhood, with a sixth given during adolescence with additional doses every 10 years.

In the USA, there are four kinds of vaccines used to protect against tetanus, all of which are combined with vaccines for other diseases:

  • Diphtheria and tetanus (DT) vaccines
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough) (DTaP) vaccines
  • Tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccines
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccines.

In the USA, most pharmacies offer tetanus vaccines. Vaccination appointments can be scheduled at this link.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information, vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.