Reported tetanus cases have declined more than 95%, and deaths from tetanus have declined more than 99% in the United States since 1947, when the disease became reportable nationally.
From 1947 to 2008, the number of tetanus cases reported each year, which already had decreased greatly since 1900, continued to decline (see figure below). This decline was in part because of continued use of tetanus antitoxin for wound management and introduction of tetanus vaccines in the 1930s and 1940s, which led to universal childhood immunization and the addition of tetanus boosters for adults. Sporadic cases of tetanus continue to occur in adults, especially in people who were not vaccinated in childhood or didn't stay up to date on their 10-year booster shots. National surveillance for tetanus is monitored by the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System and conducted to monitor trends in incidence and identify populations at increased risk.
Caption: The figure above shows the annual rate of tetanus cases and tetanus deaths in the United States during 1947–2008, according to the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System. From 1947–2008, the number of tetanus cases reported each year, which already had decreased greatly since 1900, continued to decline
Tetanus Surveillance — United States, 2001–2008.
MMWR April 1, 2011;60(12);365–369
- Page last reviewed: January 9, 2013
- Page last updated: January 9, 2013
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