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Should Tetanus Immunization be Provided to Survivors Injured in Emergencies?

Should Tetanus Immunization be Provided to Survivors Injured in Emergencies?

Answer: Tetanus immunization must be considered in emergencies with serious injuries.


Since tetanus is a complication of wounds and injuries, it is essential that the injured receive appropriate surgical treatment and care for the contaminated open wounds. Open wounds must be considered contaminated and should not be closed. Debridement and removal of dead tissue and debris are essential, and depending on the size of the wound, surgical procedures may be necessary under appropriate conditions. The wound should be bandaged with sterile gauze and the patient's first closure should be delayed.

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   Tetanus immunization is often provided to survivors of natural disasters based on the needs of the injured for the following reasons:

•      First, it does not infect people.

•      Second, in many areas of the world, most people already have some ability to fight against tetanus through immunization.

In general, to prevent tetanus in emergencies, the following measures can be taken:

•      Careful deep and surface cleaning of the wound can greatly reduce the risk of tetanus. It is also important to use bandaging and/or topical disinfectant to protect the cleaned wound from secondary infection.

•      If possible, tetanus toxoid vaccine should be provided to all those involved in debris removal and construction. Those who have not received tetanus toxoid vaccine before or are uncertain about their past immunization status should be given a second dose of vaccine in 4 to 8 weeks after the first dose. For those who have not been immunized before, the first dose of vaccine will not provide protection, and it only makes their body prepare. After receiving the second dose of vaccine in at least four weeks, tetanus antibody will be produced.

•      If feasible, vaccinations containing tetanus toxoid should be provided to all internally displaced persons who have not received at least three doses of vaccine before.

•      Since the risk of tetanus in disaster areas is high and the immunization status of most people is not clear, even if only one dose of vaccine may be needed, it is worthwhile to provide multiple doses of vaccine containing tetanus toxoid.

•      Patients with severe injuries may need tetanus immunoglobulin.


In emergencies where tetanus toxoid immunity level is low in advance, special attention should be paid to immunity of women at childbearing age and improvement of sanitary conditions in delivery places, so as to prevent maternal and neonatal tetanus. The routine immunization of women and children should also be rebuilt as soon as possible.


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TAG:  Hualan Bio, Human Tetanus Immunoglobulin, Tetanus Immunization, Tetanus Toxoid