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General information

Tetanus is not a contagious infectious disease. Worldwide there are between 300000 and 500000 cases per year with a mortality rate of approx. 45%. (Impfen: Routine oder Individualisation Eine Standortbestimmung aus hausärztlicher Sicht, 2. Auflage 2000, Arbeitsgruppe für differnenzierte Impfungen, S. 16)

According to the data reported by German hospital there were the following number of cases in the past years (GBE:


Total cases

Children < 15 years

Total number of deaths

















Tetanus vaccination

Frequently there are local reactions (pain, reddening and swelling of the injection site), presumably caused by aluminium hydroxide which is contained in the vaccine, or other additive compounds. In a trial with Swedish school children, three quarters of the children had localized problems after the booster vaccination.(Blennow, Gangström, Steandell :adverse reactions after diphteria-tetanus booster in 10 -year old schoolchildren in relation to the type of vaccine given for the primary vaccination. Vaccine 1994,12(4) Similarly there are local reactions to Thiomersal.
Abscesses occur frequently, granuloma accompanied by swelling of the lymph nodes which, however, subside after a few weeks.

Vaccination disease accompanied by fever, arthralgia, exanthema or adenitis occur 5-30% of vaccinations (Impfen: Routine oder Individualisation Eine Standortbestimmung aus hausärztlicher Sicht, 2. Auflage 2000, Arbeitsgruppe für differnenzierte Impfungen, S. 18)

Allergic reactions

Immediate allergic reactions can occur, including allergic shock after the vaccination, generally in combination with diphteria and pertussis. This, however, tends to be rare.

Delayed reactions such as urticaria, the itchiness or even asthma are more common. In a trial conducted by Hurwitz and Morgenstern the authors demonstrated that children who had been vaccinated (between 2 months and 16 years of age) suffered from asthma twice as often as children who had not been vaccinated. The probability of an allergic disease was higher by 63% in children who had been vaccinated. This correlation was particularly evident in children who were between 5 and 10 years of age. Even if the number of children in the trial was relatively small the correlation gives rise to thought.(Hurwitz EL, Morgenstern H.:Effects of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis or tetanus vaccination on allergies and allergy-related respiratory symptoms among children and adolescents in the United States.J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000 Feb;23(2):81-90.)


For more information please refer to:

Tetanus disease

Tetanus vaccination

Reported cases:
vaccindamage database

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