What you need to know Tetanus

Tetanus is a potentially fatal disease which is caused by a bacterial infection. Tetanus can quite easily be contracted through a small wound or scratch, from where the bacteria can enter the body and grow to produce a powerful toxin which circulates in the blood, causing muscular rigidity and painful muscle contractions. Death is usually caused by respiratory problems and exhaustion.

While vaccination has largely diminished the incidence of tetanus, the disease has not disappeared. Tetanus can be found all over the world and so every traveller should fully protect themselves against tetanus. Any type of injury from a simple laceration (cut) to a more serious wound can expose the individual to the spores. If individuals are not fully immunised there is always the risk of Tetanus developing in wounds contaminated by soil. Immunisation against Tetanus is highly protective and adults and children should ensure they are fully up to date with their vaccination program. Booster doses should be administered at ten year intervals.

High-risk areas

Tetanus is found throughout the world. Any location where medical attention may not be available if you hurt yourself is considered to be a high-risk area. If your previous Tetanus vaccine you had was more than 10 years ago, you will require a booster dose. The booster is recommended even if you have already had the full five doses. This ensures that you are protected if you get a wound that is vulnerable to a Tetanus infection, and you cannot get suitable medical care.

Signs and symptoms

Early symptoms of the disease include;

  • Stiffness of the jaw muscles (lockjaw)
  • Difficulties swallowing
  • Muscle spasms

The disease can spread to affect more muscles in the body including the respiratory muscles. This can cause difficulties with breathing and death can occur.

The vaccine

The Tetanus vaccine is usually combined with other vaccines, such as Diphtheria and Polio (Revaxis).

Children under 10 years of age will receive their Tetanus vaccine as part of the childhood vaccination programme.Travellers should ensure that they have had a primary course of vaccine and receive a booster every 10 years if they are travelling to an area where Diphtheria, Tetanus or Polio are considered high risk.

VaccinationDosesSchedule and ValidityPrice*
Diphtheria Tetanus Polio (Revaxis)1Immunity – 10 years£35.00
*Price per dose. Please see the dosage to calculate the overall cost.
*Prices are subject to change please contact us for the latest pricing.