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Rise in tetanus cases alarms health officials

Michigan health officials say all adults should get a tetanus booster every 10 years.

State health officials say three cases of tetanus have been reported in Michigan recently. The disease is serious, but it’s also preventable. 

Tetanus – also known as lockjaw --  is caused by a bacteria found in the soil and can also be spread through feces and saliva.

Pat Vranesich is with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

She says most years there are no cases reported. But in 2010 two cases were found, and there has been another increase this year.

“So we thought we should get the word out, since it’s 2011, and we have three cases. It is an unusual, rare disease, and yet  it could be prevented by vaccination.”

The recent cases were all in southeast Michigan.

Vranesich says children get tetanus protection at various stages as they grow, but adults should get a tetanus booster every ten years.

She recommends that adults get the TDAP combination,k which also prevents adults from spreading  whooping cough and diphtheria to children.