An Eight-Year Review of Morbidity and Mortality among Adult Patients with Tetanus at a Tertiary Hospital in Zaria, Northern Nigeria
International Journal of TROPICAL DISEASE & Health,
Background: Tetanus infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in many developing countries. The infection results from contamination of wound by Clostridium tetani in unimmunized individuals. The morbidity is mainly due to sustained skeletal muscle spasms from unopposed action of tetanospamin on excitatory neurons in the central nervous system. The clinical presentation and outcome depend on both patient and disease factors. Health education and immunization would contribute to prevention and eradication of the infection. This review studied morbidity and mortality patterns among adults treated for tetanus at a tertiary hospital in Zaria from January 2006 to December 2013.
Materials and Methods: Medical records of adults admitted with the diagnosis of tetanus were retrieved and reviewed. Information on socio-demography, clinical presentation, complications, co morbidities and outcomes were obtained and analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 17.0.
Results: Forty-seven patients were admitted during the period, with an average of 6 patients per year. Male (70.2%): female (29.8%) ratio was 2.4: 1. Their ages ranged from 15 years to 65 years, the age group 20-39 years constituting 76.6% of the population. 51.2% were students. The lower limbs were portal of entry in 70.6% of cases, and 52.9% of the wounds were dirty. 82.4% of the patients were unimmunized and overall mortality was 40.4%. Predictors of mortality were short incubation period, short onset time, severe muscle spasms, non-immunization and presence of complications.
Conclusion: Tetanus remains a major preventable disease among unimmunized and low income people. Therefore, immunization of people at risk would prevent tetanus infection and its associated complications.