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People who recover from tetanus have no long-lasting effects.
The majority of all adult types of tetanus cases can be prevented by active immunization with tetanus toxoid (tetanospasmin toxin that is inactivated); neonatal cases are prevented by good hygiene and careful, sterile technique used to sever the umbilical cord and later (at 2 months old), beginning active immunizations. There are two main vaccines recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For pediatric populations, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis combination vaccine) is used. For nonimmunized adults and booster shots, Tdap (tetanus and reduced amounts of diphtheria and acellular pertussis combination vaccine) is recommended. Tdap was recommended (by the CDC) over the older Td combination vaccine, as cases of pertussis (whooping cough) had been increasing in the last decade.
DPT is infrequently used to describe this combination vaccine. DPT represents the combination vaccine but contains cellular pertussis antigen, not acellular pertussis antigen, and has not been used in the U.S. since 2002; the current designation is DTaP. In addition, DPT is an abbreviation used in the Netherlands for another type of combination vaccine: diphtheria, pertussis, and polio.
People who are not completely immunized and have a tetanus-prone wound should receive a tetanus booster in addition to tetanus antibodies (human tetanus immune globulin or TIG). The tetanus antibodies (TIG) will provide short-term protection against the disease. For patients sensitive to the combined vaccines (DTaP or Tdap), other vaccines against tetanus are available (for example, Td), but the patients' doctor should determine the dosage schedule.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/30/2014
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