Tetanus neonatorum, a tetanus illness that affects newborn infants. The risk for newborns is high of developing tetanus after being born using non-sterile dressing devices.
The early detection of neonatal tetanus is more preferred to treatment due to the fact that the rate of mortality for neonatal tetanus is extremely high. This condition is commonly encountered in remote or rural regions where medical facilities and personnel are hard to locate.
Causes of Tetanus Neonatorum
The primary reason for Tetanus is an infection with the bacteria Clostridium Tetani It is a bacterium that has the ability to create toxins that could be harmful to the brain and the the central nervous system.
They are often present in soil, dust and even animal waste. C. Tetani bacteria can infect people, including babies, through scratching cut, puncture injuries caused by objects that are contaminated.
In infants Tetanus neonatorum is the result of this bacteria infecting the body of the infant by way of unsanitary birth practices for example, cutting the cord of umbilical with non-sterile tools.
The chance of a child having a tetanus infection in the neonatal period can also rise because the mother isn't protected from infection by the tetanus vaccination (TT) during the pregnancy . The risk is not just for the baby but also for the mother.
There are a variety of other risk factors for neonatal tetanus include:
- The process of birthing at home using a device that is not sterilized.
- There's a risk of exposure to certain materials that could transmit C. Tetani bacteria in places or equipment used during childbirth or to care for the umbilical cord for example, mud or soil.
- A history of neonatal tetanus was found in children who have had previous exposure to the disease.
Knowing the Symptoms Caused
The symptoms that can be caused when the baby is suffering from neonatal tetanus are:
- The teeth and muscles of the face get tighter between the 2nd and 3rd days following birth.
- The baby's mouth is rigid as if shut and the baby is not able to breastfeed.
- The muscle stiffness can be generalized or in spasms which causes the baby's body to relax and appear bent inwards
- Seizures are triggered by light, sound, or even touch
If it is not treated as fast as is possible, the condition could cause the baby to be unable to breathe. The majority of infant deaths due to neonatal tetanus happen between 3 and 28 days after the birth.
While the current number in cases of neonatal Tetanus have decreased however, this is still an issue for medical professionals and midwives who treat infants.
Early Prevention of Tetanus Neonatorum
The most common method of prevention is to administer TT vaccination to pregnant women to guard against Tetanus. The TT vaccination is typically performed by a medical professional when the gestational period of the woman who is pregnant is at 3 trimesters. The second dose of the vaccine is given within 4 weeks of when the first dose has been administered.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also recommends a third vaccination to be administered six months after the second dose, to ensure protection for at least 5 years.
Alongside the use of vaccines, sterilized medical procedures and delivery in hospitals can help prevent newborns from contracting tetanus. This is due to the fact that most infants who suffer from neonatal tetanus result from the birthing at home with inadequate sanitation and sterile environment.
The placement of village midwives within the work area of Puskesmas is also part of the initiatives of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia to preserve as well as improve health condition of the local population, particularly pregnant women, help with births and improve the overall general health of both children and mothers.
Neonatal tetanus is a risk of death for infants, which is why it's essential to take steps to protect yourself. If symptoms of neonatal Tetanus occur in infants, see an expert immediately for the proper treatment.