Dr Jos Vandelaer, World Health Organisation, Geneva, Switzerland, say: "Although easily prevented by maternal immunisation with tetanus toxoid vaccine, and aseptic obstetric and postnatal umbilical-cord care practices, maternal and neonatal tetanus persist as public-health problems in 48 countries, mainly in Asia and Africa."
Tetanus is caused by a neurotoxin produced by Clostridium tetani, spores of which occur worldwide in soil and in the gastrointestinal tracts of animals, including humans. The condition is characterised by muscle rigidity and painful muscle spasms caused by tetanus toxin's blockade of inhibitory neurons that normally oppose and modulate the action of excitatory motor neurons. Tetanus muscle rigidity usually begins in the masseter muscles, resulting in trismus (lockjaw). About 90% of newborn babies with tetanus develop symptoms within the first 3-14 days of life. As disease severity increases, muscle rigidity extends and spasms begin. In severe tetanus, sudden generalised contractions of all muscle groups can occur, while consciousness is preserved, making the disease "truly dreadful."
The advent of mechanical ventilation in the 1960s and 70s, plus the development of benzodiazepines, means that mortality rates of 20% or less are increasingly common for tetanus patients who have access to a modern intensive care ward. However, even in limited resources, basic medication, experienced medical supervision and high-quality nursing can bring the mortality rate down below 50%. The Seminar discusses the immunology of tetanus and the benefits/ methods of vaccination against it, and also the maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination initiative, which since its inception in 1990 has made great progress towards eliminating the disease.
With available and pledged funding, the authors believe that elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus can be expected in all but 11 countries* by 2009. However sustaining elimination could be problematic, with improvements in the number of deliveries attended by trained personnel, improvements in antenatal care practices, and routine vaccination of women of childbearing age all required.
The authors conclude: "The rejuvenated worldwide commitment to improvement of maternal and child health, and special attention to the importance of neonatal survival, catalysed by the child and maternal mortality Millennium Development Goals, is heartening.
"Since tetanus spores cannot be removed from the environment, sustaining elimination will require improvements to presently inadequate immunisation and health-service infrastructures, and universal access to those services."
Tony Kirby | alfa
Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin
Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy