Saturday, 20 October 2018

Tetanus Update

N.B. Please note further update since this was written - detailed below on 10th November!)

When discussing tetanus within travel health we've generally said that five doses of tetanus vaccine is sufficient for life in the UK but if travelling to an area where there may be a risk and difficulty in obtaining appropriate treatment, it would be best to give a booster of a tetanus containing vaccine (revaxis) prior to the trip.  Such advice is also guided by the travel risk assessment and country specific information on TravelHealthPro and TRAVAX.  However that advice seems to have changed and I'm not sure how many people saw the following, hence my decision to highlight it!

In July 2018, Public Health England issued interim Recommendations on the treatment and prophylaxis of tetanus prone wounds and within the publication it said the document supersedes both the PHE guidance Tetanus: information for health professionals published in 2015, and the Green Book chapter 30 on tetanus. It now seems if it's more than 10 years since you had a tetanus toxoid vaccine and you sustain a tetanus prone injury you would now be given further vaccine and depending on the risk assessment of the wound, receive a dose to tetanus specific immunoglobulin as well.  This is laid out in table 6 of the document.

I've explained this more fully in the Practice Nurse Travel Health Update for October 2018 - see the image below.


On 9th November the interim guidance discussed above was withdrawn and the updated publication made available HERE or click the image below. 

For more general information on tetanus see my FAQ page here.