Tag Archives: tetanus infection

Things you need to know about tetanus


Moms usually worry about small wounds their kids incur when playing inside or outside the home. Wounds become more worrisome if they become infected as they could harbor the tetanus infection. This infographic is very useful in teaching the public about tetanus and how to properly care for wounds. There are different wounds incurred from various sources. One being discussed in the infographic is wound sustained from typhoon-related accidents. Take note of the health tips for future reference.

Image credit: The World Health Organization

Why should we worry about small wounds?

Those seemingly innocent- looking wounds should not be ignored particularly if you got the wound from a firecracker burn or explosion.

minor wound

Time and again, government health officials are reminding the public to be wary of small wounds or scratch from a firecracker and fireworks that accidentally exploded. Small wounds can cause tetanus infection.

The incubation period of tetanus could be as short as one day to usually five to 21 days. But there is the so-called delayed setting of infection. These are wound that were not treated and have already healed.


Clostridium tetani, is an acute bacterial disease-causing rigidity and spasms of the voluntary muscles, can easily enter the body even through a small scratch on the skin.

The bacterium is usually present in soil that has not been exposed to sunlight and found in manures of horse, cow and carabao.

Tetanus infection is often fatal. About 95 to 99 percent of the patients died from its complications. But recovery rate is also high if the infection is treated immediately.

Patients are given anti-tetanus immunoglobulin and tetanus toxoid vaccines as treatment.

Take note of the following signs and symptoms if you do have these innocent looking wounds.

  • Stiffness of the jaw muscles
  • Severe muscle spasms
  • Difficulty in breathing and swallowing.

If you worry that you might have the infection, seek medical help immediately. Do not self-medicate.

Source of information: Author’s phone interview with Dr. Franklin Diza, of the DOH.

Pictures are not mine.

Trends of Infectious Diseases in the Philippines

I’m sharing with you this brief list of infections that are existing, recurring or has the potential to cause an outbreak. There are non-infectious diseases on the list but, still may cause an epidemic. I wrote this for  People’s Tonight. My source was the ever friendly Dr. Eric Tayag, who was the head of the National Epidemiology Center (NEC) of the DOH. He is now serving as Assistant Secretary of the DOH. I hope you will find this information useful.

Influenza Ah1n1

The Philippines remain under treat for this global pandemic. While we are waiting for the elusive vaccine to treat the virus, experts recommend proper personal hygiene and increase body resistance.

(increase of injecting drug users – IDUs; MSM (men who have sex with men); male clients of female sex workers; female sex workers

Bird flu
The National Avian Influenza Task Force remains vigilant of the possible entry of the avian influenza in the Philippine shore.

Outbreak looms particularly in areas where “integrity of water system is compromised and human factor such as unhygienic practices and sanitation is below the acceptable standard.”

In previous years, the mosquito-borne disease usually peaks during the colder months, but now cases have been reported at any given time of the year.

Food poisoning
To avert food poisoning, Dr. Tayag recommends consuming food from reputable sources and as much as possible cook the food properly.

Symptoms can vary depending on the cause of the illness, but the classic signs of stomach flu are combination of diarrhea, fever and vomitting.

Hepatitis B
A serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. It can cause a lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.

Health experts are concerned about the hidden epidemic of injury cases.
Although it’s not infectious it can cause deaths.

Influenza pandemic
Scientists say the deadly birdflu virus is mutating steadily and may eventually acquire the changes it needs to be easily transmitted from human to human.

Infected rodents and other wild and domestic animals pass the bacteria in their urine. The bacteria can live for a long time in fresh water, damp soil, vegetation, and mud. Flooding after heavy rainfall helps spread the bacteria in the environment.

Measles, also called rubeola, is a highly contagious – but rare – respiratory infection that is caused by a virus. It causes a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms, including a fever, cough, and runny nose.

The problems of controlling malaria are aggravated by inadequate health structures and poor socioeconomic conditions.
The situation has become even more complex over the last few years with the increase in resistance to the drugs normally used to combat the parasite that causes the disease.

The DOH still expects sporadic cases of meningococcemia in different parts of the country, but health authorities assured that current distribution of cases do not pose any serious outbreak.
Meningococcemia is an acute (sudden onset) infection of the bloodstream and developing vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis.

Neo-natal tetanus
Neonatal (newborn) tetanus is the most common form of tetanus in developing countries. The disease is caused by contamination of the umbilical stump with spores following childbirth through cutting the cord with an on-sterile instrument or by application of animal dung to the cut cord.

Other causes of poisoning not necessarily food-related
The incident of mercury exposure of students and faculties of St. Andrew’s School in Paranaque a few years ago has heightened public awareness on environmental poisoning.

Rabies is acquired from virus in saliva entering a bite wound caused by an infected animal, usually a rabid dog. The severity of the bite determines the risk of infection. The disease does not usually spread from man to man.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)
He said women should be careful because they are the last to know that they have STDs unlike the male population whose symptoms are florid or obvious.
Some women patients may have ectopic pregnancy only to find out they are infected with STD.

Typhoid fever
This is related to cholera and gastroenteritis in terms of breakdown of hygiene, sanitation and availability of clean potable water.

Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
In relation to influenza pandemic, cases of upper respiratory tract infection may increase during the rainy months. URTI is a nonspecific term used to describe acute infections involving the nose, paranasal sinuses, pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchi. An example is the illness known as the common cold.