Sydney, April 13 (IANS) Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) state on Thursday reported one tetanus death — the first since 1993 — as well as three cases of the infection, urging locals to check their vaccination status.
According to a statement released by the NSW Ministry of Health, a woman in her 80s from Sydney died on April 1 from tetanus, reports Xinhua news agency.
The case followed two other notifications of tetanus in the state this year, a woman in her 80s also from Sydney and a woman in her 70s from Northern NSW.
The health authority confirmed that these are the first tetanus cases reported in NSW since 2019, and the death is the first related to tetanus since 1993.
In all three cases, tetanus was acquired from a minor wound on the woman’s lower leg that was contaminated by garden soil.
Two of the women had no record of tetanus vaccination, while the third had a vaccine more than 30 years ago.
Christine Selvey, director of communicable diseases at NSW Health, called on the community, particularly older Australians, to ensure they are up to date with their tetanus vaccinations.
“Tetanus is a rare but potentially fatal disease. Vaccination is the best protection against tetanus,” Selvey said. “In Australia, the disease mostly occurs in older people, usually women, who are inadequately immunized.”
Tetanus is a severe disease caused by Clostridium tetani, a bacteria often found in soil.
The bacteria can enter wounds and produce a toxin, resulting in serious illness and death.
The Department of Health and Aged Care said that tetanus can occur in people of any age but mainly in older adults who have never been vaccinated or were vaccinated more than 10 years ago.
The case-fatality rate in Australia is about 2 per cent.
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