Tetanus is a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium tetani (C tetani).1,2 The spores produced by the bacteria cause an acute, life-threatening disease because they are extremely resistant to both heat and many chemical agents that are used to eliminate bacteria.1
For more information, recommendations, and guidelines, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
Tetanus infection occurs when1,3:
- Spores gain access into the body through a wound
- The spores then transform to active bacteria
Tetanus-prone wounds are wounds sustained more than 6 hours before surgical treatment or at any point after injury that show 1 or more of the following:
- Puncture-type wound
- Significant devitalized tissue
- Evidence of sepsis
- Contamination with soil/manure that could contain tetanus organisms
- High-velocity missile wounds
Certain persons are at a significantly higher risk of being infected5-8:
- Immigrants and visitors
- Patients born prior to vaccination series being mandatory
- Intravenous (IV) drug users
- Patients with diabetes
- Patients with chronic wounds
Postexposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
Guide to tetanus prophylaxis in routine wound management5
According to the most recent CDC tetanus surveillance data, an analysis of sufficiently complete case reports of patients with acute wounds who sought medical care revealed that 96% did not receive recommended PEP.2
An animal bite or severe dirty wound would leave patients at risk for tetanus.2,9
Download the ACIP guidelines for more information on specific patients.
In patients with an uncertain or incomplete immunization history for tetanus, the vaccine alone is not enough. According to the CDC, the use of a tetanus immune globulin (TIG) may, if promptly administered, reduce the potentially life-threatening risk of tetanus when administered concomitantly with the tetanus vaccine.7
HyperTET, along with wound cleaning and debridement, provides immediate protection.
This allows the vaccine the time needed to establish active immunity for your patients in high-risk situations.7,10
Find out which patients are considered high risk.
The Importance of TIG in PEP7,10-12
With a short incubation period of 8 days on average, the rapid immune protection provided by HyperTET is critical for patients who need a TIG.
- During 1998-2000, the fatality rate for reported tetanus in the United States was 18%7
- Almost all reported cases of tetanus are in persons who have either never been vaccinated or who completed a primary series but have not had a booster in the preceding 10 years7
- It is possible to get tetanus more than once; people recovering from tetanus should receive the full vaccination series7