Taiwan CDC announces this year’s first tetanus death in 75-year-old woman with diabetes; Public advised to seek prompt medical attention when suffering from deep cuts or puncture wounds( 2013-03-04 )
On February 26, 2013, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) announced this year’s first death from tetanus. The case was a 75-year-old female who resided in southern Taiwan. She had a history of diabetes and high blood pressure and suffered from an unstable blood sugar level. Before the Lunar New Year Holiday, she got a puncture wound to her foot while cleaning up coconut leaves around her residence. On the following day, she sought medical attention at a clinic where she received antibiotics and a dose of tetanus toxoid for treatment. One week later, her puncture wound became infected, red and swollen. Subsequently, when she developed swallowing difficulty, neck stiffness and opisthotonos, she was transferred to a hospital and diagnosed with tetanus. Immediately, she was transferred to a medical center and hospitalized in the intensive care unit. Despite the best efforts of medical personnel, the family requested the patient to be discharged from the hospital. Unfortunately, she passed away the next day.
Taiwan CDC advises the public to take protective measures against tetanus when cleaning up after a disaster and seek prompt medical attention at a hospital when wound contamination is suspected. The doctor can determine if a patient needs tetanus toxoid based on whether the patient has previously received DTP or DT vaccine. If the risk of infection is high, the doctor can prescribe immune globulin (TIG) as further treatment. For any questions or further information, please call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Care Hotline, 1922, or 0800-024582 if calling from a cell phone, or visit the Taiwan CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov.tw.