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
Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University
Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News