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J Infect Chemother. 2014 Jan;20(1):35-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jiac.2013.11.003. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

Seroprevalence of tetanus toxoid antibody and booster vaccination efficacy in Japanese travelers.

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  • 1Disease Control and Prevention Center, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo, Japan. Electronic address:
  • 2Department of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Infection Control, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo, Japan.
  • 3Disease Control and Prevention Center, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Tetanus can be prevented by vaccination, which is especially important for overseas travelers. However, despite booster vaccination every 10 years being recommended, most Japanese adults do not receive it in the absence of physical injury or overseas travel. We aimed to investigate the level of protective immunity against tetanus among Japanese travelers, which may provide valuable information for formulating booster vaccination recommendations. 113 Japanese travelers given tetanus toxoid were recruited. The collected samples included paired samples prior to and 3-5 weeks after receiving the booster vaccination. Travelers who did not return and those lacking sample collection at the second visit were excluded. Finally, 96 paired blood samples were collected. History of immunization against tetanus, including DPT and DT vaccines, was determined from interviews or immunization records. The pre-vaccination geometric mean titer for the 96 participants was 1.07 IU/mL; 76% had a protective antitoxin level (>0.1 IU/mL), and 50% had a long-term protective antitoxin level (>1.0 IU/mL). Most participants <40 years old had protective immunity without receiving booster vaccination, whereas only 30.8% of those >50 years of age had protective immunity. Among the 23 participants without protective antitoxin levels (<0.1 IU/mL), booster vaccination was efficient in 100% of those <40 years but in only 28.6% of those >50 years of age. Although the tetanus antitoxin level decreases with age, booster vaccination helped to achieve an adequate protective antitoxin levels in Japanese travelers <40 years of age. Furthermore, the individuals who have never been vaccinated against tetanus especially in those >50 years old need to obtain protective immunity against tetanus according to a basic immunization schedule to prevent tetanus in travelers and residents of Japan.

Copyright © 2013 Japanese Society of Chemotherapy and the Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Japanese; Tetanus; Travelers; Vaccination

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