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Clinical pattern of tetanus at the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital Osogbo Nigeria: a 6-year review


Tetanus, though an eminently preventable disease still ranks as a leading cause of death in Nigeria as well as in other developing countries. Reported mortality for severe tetanus varies from 15–40% and depends on the availability and quality of intensive care. Farmers and artisans are mostly affected in their prime of life.


This retrospective study was carried out to determine the pattern of clinical presentation of tetanus, the level of immunization, case fatality rate and factors influencing mortality.


Case notes of patients (age > 10 and above) managed for tetanus from 2001–2006 at LAUTECH Teaching Hospital Osogbo were retrieved. Demographic, clinical data, laboratory investigation results and response to treatment were collated. The data obtained were analysed using the SPSS11 Computer package. The mean was used as a summarizing index, while the standard deviation as an index of variation.


There were a total of 68 patients managed during this period which comprised of 45 males and 23 females. The age range was between 10–75 years. Tetanus was highest in the third decade of life. The commonest portal of entry was the lower limb (N = 30). An unusual portal of entry was a fungating breast mass. The most clinical finding was trismus followed by spasms. Only one subject was fully vaccinated and received booster dose of vaccine. Case fatality rate was 51.5%.


The mortality of tetanus is still very high from this retrospective study. The level of immunization against tetanus was dismally low. Active immunization should be given to all Nigerians particularly those in the vulnerable group.

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Correspondence to Adekunle Mustapha.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Mustapha, A., Fawale, B. Clinical pattern of tetanus at the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital Osogbo Nigeria: a 6-year review. BMC Proc 2 (Suppl 1), P49 (2008).

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