WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 184-186

Tetanus: still a public health problem in India — observations in an infectious diseases hospital in Kolkata

1 Infectious Diseases Hospital, Kolkata, India
2 BP Poddar Medical Research & Hospital, New Alipore, Kolkata, India

Correspondence Address:
Alakes Kumar Kole
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases Hospital, 57 Beliaghata Main Road, Kolkata 700010, West Bengal
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.206766

PMID: 28615595

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Background: Tetanus is a major health problem in many developing countries, including India, with significant morbidity and mortality due to lack of environmental hygiene and health education, incomplete vaccination, high case prevalence and inadequate intensive care facilities. Objectives: To observe the demography, clinical profile and outcomes of tetanus patients. Materials and methods: A total of 282 tetanus patients were screened and closely observed prospectively from January 2010 to December 2011. Results: The mean age of the study patients was 31.15 years (± 14.26) and the majority were unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated against tetanus. Patients were mainly farmers (140, 49.64%) and children (102, 36.17%). The sources of infection identified were mainly thorn/pin prick in 129 cases (45.7%), cut/lacerated injury in 83 cases (29.4%) and ear infection in 47 cases (16.7%), while definite injurywas not detected/remembered in 42 cases (14.8%). The average duration of hospital stay was 17.2 ± (4.7) days and autonomic nervous system dysfunction was the most common complication observed in this study. Death was the outcome in a total of 58 patients (20.6%) mostly due to aspiration pneumonia-induced sepsis, respiratory failure or cardiac complications. Conclusion: Environmental hygiene, basic health education, increased in immunization coverage, proper wound care – even following minor injuries – and more facilities for intensive care units, may reduce the overall incidence of tetanus and mortality following onset of the disease.

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