Morbidity and mortality of tetanus at Kenyatta National Hospital: a ten-year case audit
Introduction: Tetanus is a major health problem in developing countries, and is associated with high a morbidity and mortality. There are no recent local data in Kenya on the impact of the disease in terms of morbidity and mortality. The objective of this study was to describe the type, severity, risk factors, immunization history and outcome of tetanus patients at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
Method: This was a retrospective descriptive study of patients with a clinical diagnosis of tetanus admitted to KNH over ten years, who were aged 13 years and above. All available files with tetanus diagnosis were selected, and the patients’ data were retrieved and analysed using SPSS Software version 21.0.
Results: Out of 53 patients with tetanus, 50 (94.3%) were males and 3 (5.7%) were females. The mean age at presentation was 33.2 years (SD= 15.6). Only 4 (7.5%) patients had prior tetanus immunization. The commonest risk factor was acute injury - seen in 37 (69.8%) patients. The common site of injury was the lower limb - seen in 26 (49.1%) patients. The incubation period ranged from 3 to 90 days (IQR 7-17). Generalized tetanus was the commonest form found in 50 (94.3%) patients. Only 16 (30.2%) patients were managed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The overall mortality was 49.1%.
Conclusion: Tetanus mortality is still high as reported in many other studies. Most patients were males without prior immunization history. Only few patients were managed in Intensive Care Unit. We recommend advocacy on tetanus immunization and booster dosing.