Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

Neonatal Tetanus

Description: Tetanus is acquired through exposure to the spores of the bacterium Clostridium tetani which are universally present in the soil. The disease is caused by the action of a potent neurotoxin produced during the growth of the bacteria in dead tissues, e.g. in dirty wounds or in the umbilicus following non-sterile delivery. People of all ages can get tetanus. But the disease is particularly common and serious in newborn babies. This is called neonatal tetanus. Most infants who get the disease die. Neonatal tetanus is particularly common in rural areas where most deliveries are at home without adequate sterile procedures.

Prevention: Toxoid as DTP, DT, TT or Td - at least three primary doses given by the intramuscular route.

2016 global figures

      1'996 reported cases
      61'000 estimated deaths (2011)
      72% reported TT2+ coverage (among pregnant women)

Statistics on Neonatal Tetanus

Last Update: 25 August 2017