By Jacinta Nwachukwu
Abuja – A gynaecologist, Dr Nathaniel Adewole of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, on Thursday, advised the public to take anti-tetanus vaccine to guaranteed lifelong immunity against the disease.
Adewole told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that tetanus infection was one of the causes of the major killer-diseases in children and contributed to deaths among mothers.
According to him, tetanus infection is caused by a bacterium called clostridium tetani and it is a grand positive anaerobic bacillus.
He attributed the risk factors that could predispose a person to the disease to include; contaminated wounds, sustained injury from rusted nail and unhealthy management of umbilical cord after delivery.
The medical practitioners said that the risk factors exposed the baby’s life to tetanus infection.
Adewole said that tetanus could be found in dirty, sand, rusted nail, and anything that allowed anaerobic bacteria to grow.
“Because of the incidence of deaths from tetanus infection to both mother and baby, there is usually an anti- tetanus vaccine that is given to all pregnant women for prevention.
“This anti-tetanus vaccine is given according to its schedule of five doses; after first dose is given, the second dose is administered within four weeks of the first dose.
“This is because the first dose does not carry any immunity but the second dose carries, then at six months and one year, the third and fourth doses will be given respectively.
Adewole further said that after those doses had been administered afterward, the fifth dose would be given to ensure lifelong immunity.
He said that the first dose of anti- tetanus vaccine did not provide any immunity; hence the need to give second dose after four weeks.
Adewole further advised members of the public to take the lifelong anti-tetanus vaccine or avoid injuries that could predispose them to tetanus infection, stressing that ‘’prevention is better than cure.’’
He, however, said that if one was not on lifelong immunity vaccine against the disease booster doses should be given each time injury was sustained from risk objects.
“Also if expectant mother is not on lifelong immunity vaccine, she should be given two doses of anti-tetanus injection in every conception.
“If there is injury, anti-tetanus injection should be taken, but for contaminated wound, the patient will take anti-tetanus serum (ATS) first before tetanus injection.
The gynaecologist further advised that that women who had miscarriages should be given anti-tetanus injection adding that they were prone to tetanus infection due to complications.