Tetanus is a serious and potentially fatal disease. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are vital in order to improve the prognosis of tetanus. Some factors which increase the risk of severe disease and therefore poor prognosis are:
Prognosis of tetanus
Neonatal tetanus has poor prognosis. A newborn baby is at risk of tetanus if contaminated knife, razor, or other instrument is used to cut its umbilical cord, or if dirty material is used to dress the cord. In infants less than 10 days old, incidence of disease getting severe and therefore, risk of poor prognosis is more. Symptoms include presence of risus sardonicus and fever.
Risk of death is significantly increased in newborns with an incubation period of six days or less and weight less than 2.5 kg.
Tetanus is life-threatening disease if the patient does not receive treatment promptly. According to studies, mortality rates vary from 40% to 78%. Older people and those who have a rapid progression of symptoms have poor prognosis. In adults, acute respiratory failure is the leading cause of death in tetanus. Risk of severe disease is to 35% to 40% if the incubation period is greater than 10 days.
Recovery is complete if the person survives the infection, i.e. there is no residual damage to brain or body in most cases.
Some possible complications of tetanus