Spotlight on Tetanus

Despite an effective immunization method, tetanus is still a threat in developing countries worldwide. In developed countries, this condition affects certain population groups, especially the elderly. In this article, Dr. Anan Srikiatkhachorn of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, and Dr. Wanakorn Rattanawong of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, and Dr. Thiravat Hemachudha of Chulalongkorn University Hospital in Bangkok describe the clinical features of tetanus, which is characterized by sustained muscle rigidity and reflex spasm. Tetanospasmin, a toxin of Clostridium tetani, is responsible for these clinical symptoms.

Besides symptomatic treatment, neutralization of this toxin is a mainstay for treating this condition. The beneficial effect of intrathecal immunoglobulin in conjunction with intramuscular administration has been proven in a randomized controlled clinical trial, and tetanus toxoid is considered very safe, even for immunodeficient individuals.

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