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BackgroundTetanus is a vaccine-preventable disease caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. In 2018, all of Guinea was considered to be at risk of the disease and the country is currently in the elimination phase.MethodsA 5-y audit (1 January 2014-31 December 2018) of all admissions to the neonatal and general paediatric units of Kamsar Hospital (Western Guinea) was undertaken to identify cases of neonatal tetanus (NNT) and postneonatal tetanus (PNNT).ResultsThere were 5670 admissions during the study period, of which 39 (0.7%) were due to tetanus (22 NNT and 17 PNNT). Among NNT patients, the bacterial entry site was the umbilical cord (n=20) or wound following circumcision (n=2). For PNNT, the entry site was surface wound (n=12), limb fracture (n=1) or could not be established (n=4). A majority of the patients (36/39, 92.3%) were born to unvaccinated mothers or those who received suboptimal vaccination during pregnancy. Overall, 21 (53.8%) children died within 7 d of admission with a higher mortality observed among neonates (16/22, 72.7%) compared with postneonates (5/17, 29.4%).ConclusionsTetanus was a rare cause of admission at Kamsar Hospital with a very high case fatality rate. The disease primarily occurred among children born to mothers who were unvaccinated/inadequately vaccinated during pregnancy.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/inthealth/ihab021

Type

Journal

International health

Publication Date

28/05/2021

Addresses

Faculty of Sciences and Health Technics, Gamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry, Conakry, Guinea.