According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30% of reported tetanus cases that were treated were in elderly persons aged 65 or older.1
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Incident: June is retired, but she competes every year in her town's rose garden contest. While tending to her garden, June got distracted and cut herself. Concerned about the severity of her injury, fearing she would need stitches, and having just learned that tetanus was more than stepping on a rusty nail, June went to the emergency room (ER).
Diagnosis: When June arrived at the ER, the attending physician noted that she:
- Had a deep laceration
- Was unable to recall if she had ever received a tetanus vaccination
Treatment: Once June's uncertain immunization status was confirmed, the doctor removed the source of the infection through debridement and used an antimicrobial (eg, metronidazole). The doctor then gave June a dose of tetanus immune globulin (HyperTET S/D) in conjunction with a tetanus vaccine.
Outcome: Thanks to the comprehensive treatment she received, June went on to win her town's rose garden competition in good health.
One study showed that 75.3% of immigrants (those not born in North America or Western Europe) who were treated in an ER had significantly lower quantities of tetanus antibodies.2
Location: San Diego, California
Incident: Miguel runs a very profitable construction company in California. They had just begun a new job but were short staffed, so Miguel stepped in. While working, Miguel's hand slipped, and he cut himself with a power saw. Because he makes all of his employees take a safety class before starting any job, Miguel knew that his injury was severe and also prone to infections, including tetanus. He decided that an ER visit was necessary.
Diagnosis: When Miguel arrived at the ER, the attending physician noted that he:
- Had a deep laceration
- Had not had his primary series of vaccinations because he had not been born in North America or Western Europe
Treatment: The doctor removed the source of the infection through debridement, used an antimicrobial (eg, metronidazole), and then gave Miguel a dose of tetanus immune globulin (HyperTET S/D) in conjunction with a tetanus vaccine.
Outcome: Thanks to the comprehensive treatment he received, Miguel went on to finish the job and is back to running his company.