An 18-month-old boy suddenly had tetanus

HCMCAn 18-month-old boy, living in Binh Thanh district, has a fever for 5 days, has a stiff jaw, has difficulty eating, sometimes arches his body and turns purple when he is gong.

Doctor Nguyen Dinh Qui, Children’s Hospital 2, on December 13, said the baby could not open his mouth due to the stiffness of his jaw, his legs stretched out and his hands clenched when stimulated. The doctor did not record skin wound, no injury related to rust.

Infectious disease experts consult and determine that the baby has tetanus. The baby was transferred to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases of Ho Chi Minh City for treatment.

Mother said the baby was vaccinated with two vaccines after giving birth in the maternity hospital, including tuberculosis and hepatitis B, and then did not get another vaccine. It is not clear why the baby has tetanus.

According to Dr. Qui, tetanus is a dangerous disease with a high rate of complications and deaths, but there has been a preventive vaccine in the national immunization program for a long time. However, sometimes the hospital still accepts tetanus children.

This is an acute disease caused by the exotoxin of the tetanus bacillus (Clostridium tetani) that develops in the wound under anaerobic conditions. The disease manifests itself in muscle spasms with pain, first of the chewing muscles, the muscles of the face, the nape of the neck and then the muscles of the body.

Tetanus bacteria that exist in the intestines of animals, reside in a normal way without causing disease. Under unfavorable conditions, bacteria exist in the form of spores. Usually tetanus spores enter the human body through deep wounds contaminated with dirt, sugar dust, human feces, animal feces or rusted iron sharp objects through cuts in the skin.

The body is not naturally immune to the tetanus bacteria. A mother who is vaccinated against tetanus during pregnancy can pass antibodies across the placenta to the baby, but the antibodies last for no more than two months in the baby’s blood. Infusion of antibodies from breast milk is minimal.

The treatment of tetanus is quite complicated, sometimes having to open the trachea, breathing with machine if the child has severe respiratory failure and most of them leave neurological sequelae, high mortality rate when complications occur.

According to Dr. Qui, the most important thing is prevention, which is basically immunization with three doses of DPT (diphtheria – pertussis – tetanus) vaccine included in the national vaccination program at two, three, four months of age.

Le Phuong