Trends in neonatal and post-neonatal tetanus admissions at a Nigerian teaching hospital
Introduction: Tetanus accounts for high morbidity and case fatality rates in developing countries. This study therefore aimed to identify reasons for the persistence of this disease.
Methodology: Paediatric admissions at Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2008 diagnosed with tetanus were studied. Data was analyzed with SPSS 18 and statistical significance was set at p < 0.05.
Results: Of the total 1,681 paediatric admissions, 30 (1.8%) had tetanus. Of the 878 neonatal admissions, 8 (0.9%) had tetanus, while 22 (2.7%) of the total 803 post-neonatal admissions had tetanus. Neonatal tetanus admissions were significantly higher in 2006 compared to 2007 and 2008 (7 [2.3%] versus 1 [0.2%] [χ2= 7.50, P=0.01]). Of the eight mothers whose neonates had tetanus, seven did not receive tetanus toxoids in pregnancy and five (62.5%) were secondary school dropouts. Post-neonatal tetanus cases admitted in the years 2006, 2007, and 2008 were 4, 12, and 6 children respectively. Most of these 22 children did not receive tetanus toxoid immunization in their first year of life. None of the 22 children received booster doses of tetanus toxoids after their first years of life.
Conclusion: Mothers at risk of their babies having tetanus, such as secondary school dropouts, must be identified antenatally and vaccinated with tetanus toxiod. Their babies should also receive good care post-delivery. Completion of routine tetanus toxoid schedule in the first year and booster doses in the post-neonatal age should be ensured.
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