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Tetanus

Tetanus

Tetanus is a vaccine-preventable disease caused by a toxin produced by bacteria called Clostridium tetani. Tetanus spores are found in soil throughout the world. The disease is acquired when material containing these spores, such as soil, contaminates a wound. The toxin released from the bacteria may then attack the nerves of the brain and spinal cord. Tetanus is not spread by person to person contact.

Tetanus is found worldwide, but is more common in resource-poor countries with low vaccine coverage.

Prevention

Travellers should thoroughly clean all wounds and seek medical attention for injuries such as burns or wounds contaminated with soil.

Tetanus vaccination

  • Travellers should have completed a tetanus vaccination course according to the UK schedule.
  • If travelling to a country or area where medical facilities may be limited, a booster dose of a tetanus-containing vaccine is recommended if the last dose was more than ten years ago even if five doses of vaccine have been given previously.

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