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Year : 1983  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 32-7

Neonatal tetanus in Zaria, Northern Nigeria.

Correspondence Address:
P C Osuhor

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 6654472

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This discussion describes the problem of neonatal tetanus as seen in the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) Zaria, Northern Nigeria over the January 1975 to December 1977 period. Appropriate health actions to be taken regarding prevention and management of neonatal tetanus are described. The pediatric ward of ABUTH, Zaria, admitted 4600 during the study period. Of these, 54 (1.2%) were neonatal tetanus cases. For these tetanus babies, information was available as to the age, sex, apparent portal of entry of the organisms, and the outcome of the infection. Analysis of their mothers included antenatal clinic attendance, residence, and place of delivery. More perinatal babies were infected and died than the other age groups. By the end of the 2nd week of life, over 90% of all the infected babies died. Home delivered babies were more infected than other babies delivered in hospitals. Only 7.4% of the mothers had any form of antenatal care. Zaria City, the traditional residence of the indigenous, had the highest number of cases and deaths. 44 (81.5%) of the babies had septic umbilical cord stumps with 35 deaths among them. The best treatment for an established case of tetanus is total muscle relaxation with anesthetic agents and intermittent positive pressure ventilation. This requires a specialized intensive care unit and a highly skilled personnel that are not yet available in Zaria. Simple sedation and expert and dedicated nursing and medical supervision can go far in reducing the mortality rate.

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