Many people continue to die from tetanus infection or have their limbs amputated despite the fact that the disease is preventable.
According to Dr. Sunny Omomoh, said tetanus was a serious bacterial disease that affected the nervous and muscular system.
It caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani, commonly found in the soil, and that people contracted it after sustaining injury and leaving it open without thorough treatment.
“When people sustain injury without thorough dressing, the injury is contaminated with soil and dust particles that contain the organism called Clostridium tetani. After contracting it for a while, the organism releases some toxins that get fixed into the central nervous system thereby making the person to convulse and have muscular spasms,” he explained.
Some of the symptoms of tetanus are:
- Jaw cramping
- Sudden, involuntary muscle tightening (muscle spasms) – often in the stomach
- Painful muscle stiffness all over the body
- Trouble swallowing
- Jerking or staring (seizures)
- Fever and sweating
- Changes in blood pressure and fast heart rate
Doctors diagnose tetanus based on a physical exam, medical and immunization history, and the signs and symptoms of muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. Laboratory tests generally aren’t helpful for diagnosing tetanus.
Since there’s no cure for tetanus, treatment consists of wound care, medications to ease symptoms and supportive care.
Cleaning the wound is essential to preventing growth of tetanus spores. This involves removing dirt, foreign objects and dead tissue from the wound.
- Antitoxin. Your doctor may give you a tetanus antitoxin, such as tetanus immune globulin. However, the antitoxin can neutralize only toxin that hasn’t yet bonded to nerve tissue.
- Antibiotics. Your doctor may also give you antibiotics, either orally or by injection, to fight tetanus bacteria.
- Vaccine. All people with tetanus should receive the tetanus vaccine as soon as they’re diagnosed with the condition.
- Sedatives. Doctors generally use powerful sedatives to control muscle spasms.
- Other drugs. Other medications, such as magnesium sulfate and certain beta blockers, might be used to regulate involuntary muscle activity, such as your heartbeat and breathing. Morphine might be used for this purpose as well as sedation.
Immunisation is the only effective prevention of tetanus. Tetanus toxoid is an effective, safe, stable and inexpensive vaccine that can be given to all ages, to pregnant women and to immunocompromised individuals.
Most countries recommend a minimum of five doses of tetanus toxoid vaccine over 12–15 years, starting in infancy. Further booster doses can be given in early adulthood, to ensure long-lasting protection.
Opportunistic immunisation of people who are treated for wounds and cuts is important for maintaining high protection levels, as is targeted vaccination of population groups born before general immunisations programmes started.