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South Med J. 2009 Mar;102(3):251-5. doi: 10.1097/SMJ.0b013e31818f6544.

Exposure risks and tetanus immunization status in farmers ages 50 and over.

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  • 1University of Kentucky College of Nursing, Lexington, KY 40536, USA.



Despite an effective tetanus vaccine, tetanus continues to claim lives worldwide. The very young and the elderly are at highest risk for the disease. Farmers are at high risk for injury, the leading factor associated with tetanus.


As part of a larger study of older members of farm households in the southern United States, 595 participants provided data on health, injuries, work, socioeconomic status, and healthcare.


69% reported receiving a tetanus booster in the past ten years, 24% had not, and 7% did not know. Females were less likely to be currently immunized. There was no association between immunization status and age, income, or race. There were associations between farm tasks, farm work-related injury, and immunization.


Older farmers are at risk for tetanus by virtue of their age and work environment. Health care providers should explore strategies to improve immunization status among this work group.

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