Tetanus, commonly called lockjaw, is caused by a bacterial toxin, or poison, that affects the nervous system. Tetanus is not transmitted from person to person. Prevention Vaccination is the only way to protect against tetanus. A combination booster vaccine, called Tdap, protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis whooping cough. Which adults should get vaccinated against tetanus?
Diseases and Vaccines
Tetanus Disease and Tetanus Vaccine Information
Tetanus Lockjaw Why vaccinate adults against tetanus? The bacteria that cause tetanus are ubiquitous in soil; any lapse in immunity can create an opportunity for infection. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of reported cases of tetanus are fatal. In the US, where 50 or fewer cases of tetanus occur each year, deaths are more likely to occur in persons 60 years of age and older and in persons who are diabetic. For adults, a tetanus booster every 10 years ensures protection against tetanus; the new Tdap booster provides protection not only against tetanus, but also against diphtheria and pertussis. Because of the rise in US pertussis cases, some people should not wait 10 years to get their Tdap booster. Pregnant women especially need Tdap vaccine because of the protection it provides against whooping cough.
Public Health Immunization Clinics
Why do adults need to be vaccinated? Like infants and children, adults are also at risk for contracting vaccine-preventable diseases. In addition to becoming severely ill, infected adults risk spreading these diseases to infants who are too young to be vaccinated.
It usually enters your body through an open wound. The tetanus vaccine helps protect against tetanus. The vaccine that you get for tetanus can also contain components to prevent contracting certain other serious bacterial diseases, such as diphtheria and pertussis whooping cough. The different tetanus vaccine formulations are as follows: