Tetanus (DTP) Vaccination
- Low risk
- Moderate risk
- High risk
Tetanus is a non-contagious infection caused by the bacterium clostridium tetani. The infection releases a poison (toxin) which spreads through the bloodstream and attacks the nervous system and muscles. It causes stiffness and spasm of the muscles, swallowing difficulties, problems breathing, convulsions and can be fatal if medical attention is not sought immediately.
Where is tetanus found?
Tetanus bacteria live in the soil, dirt and on rusty objects. It is spread through open cuts and wounds which have been contaminated. It can also be transmitted through bites and licking from infected animals. Tetanus is predominantly a disease of the developing world, where there is inadequate vaccination.
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The vaccination will protect against tetanus.
In addition, there are several precautions one should follow to reduce risk of exposure. These include washing and bandaging any open wound to avoid infection and having good personal hygiene. Wear protective clothing when working in areas with objects that are likely to hurt you and leave an open wound.
Revaxis is the vaccine which helps to protect against diphtheria, tetanus and polio. It has been available since 1941. It is advised for people travelling to high risk places where tetanus may occur. At Cosmopolitan Medical Clinic, our doctor or nurse will advise if you should consider having this vaccine. Women who are either pregnant or breastfeeding should discuss their itinerary and risk profile with our travel nurse.
Urgent medical attention is required if a person has contracted tetanus. Treatment usually involves giving immunoglobulin and antibiotics. Intensive care treatment will be necessary until the effects of the disease wear off.
Children usually receive this vaccine as part of the national schedule which is a course of 5 doses. Adults and teenagers can be vaccinated via a course of one injection of the combined diphtheria, tetanus and polio vaccine. It is recommended to have the vaccine at least 6 months prior to travel, but can be administered anytime so as to protect against exposure to the infection.
Travellers should ensure that they have had a primary vaccination course and receive a booster every 10 years if they are travelling to an area where diphtheria, tetanus or polio are considered high risk.