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Bol Asoc Med P R. 2011 Apr-Jun;103(2):41-7.

Tetanus is still present in the 21st century: case report and review of literature.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Disease, University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Tetanus is a very serious disease that can be fatal. Its incidence in the developed world has diminished considerably since the introduction of tetanus toxoid. More importantly, tetanus is one of the few infectious diseases that can be prevented. The recommendations for immunization are clear and readily available. In spite of the progress, we still see cases of tetanus in which the prognosis is poor. We present the case of a 67 year-old man that was admitted to our hospital with one of the most common manifestations of tetanus: trismus. Even though his treatment was established immediately, the hospital stay was long and made him susceptible to various medical complications and nosocomial infections. The incidence of tetanus in Puerto Rico is low but the mortality rate continues to be elevated in the high-risk group: patients older than 60 years of age. This is the reason for which we present this case. Our goal is to provide information with regards to epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, diagnosis and management of tetanus. In addition, it is equally essential to remind our colleagues the significance of adequate prevention of this potentially mortal and disabling disease.

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