Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1992;18(5):323-326    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1569

Tetanus caused by occupational accidents.

by Luisto M, Seppalainen AM

The role of occupational accidents as a source of tetanus is poorly known. In Finland, during the period 1969-1985, 28 (26%) of the 106 cases of tetanus were caused by occupational accidents, 16 of which occurred in agriculture and forestry. Twenty-one of the patients were men and seven were women. The mean annual incidence of tetanus was 1 per 100,000 occupational accidents during the study period. The cases were concentrated in summer and autumn. Most of the primary injuries were minor, 61% of the injuries occurring in the hands and fingers. Forty-three percent of the patients had not been immunized against tetanus, and 46% were unaware of their state of immunization. The systematic immunization of the population against tetanus is important because the disease is often caused by slight injuries not requiring treatment by health care personnel. This need is emphasized for work in agriculture, forestry, and other branches in which contact with soil or animals occurs.