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Lancet. 2007 Dec 8;370(9603):1947-59.

Maternal and neonatal tetanus.

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Weybridge, VT, USA.

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  • Lancet. 2007 Dec 8;370(9603):1906.


Maternal and neonatal tetanus are important causes of maternal and neonatal mortality, claiming about 180 000 lives worldwide every year, almost exclusively in developing countries. 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. Survival of tetanus patients has improved substantially for those treated in hospitals with modern intensive-care facilities; however, such facilities are often unavailable where the tetanus burden is highest. The Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination Initiative assists countries in which maternal and neonatal tetanus has not been eliminated to provide immunisation with tetanus toxoid to women of childbearing age. The ultimate goal of this initiative is the worldwide elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus. 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. The renewed worldwide commitment to the reduction of maternal and child mortality, if translated into effective action, could help to provide the systemic changes needed for long-term elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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