Tetanus: What is Tetanus?

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Transcript:

Host: Dr. Keith T. Borg Emergency Medicine

Guest: Dr. Linda Austin Psychiatry

 

Announcer:

Welcome to an MUSC Health Podcast.

Dr. Linda Austin:

I am Dr. Linda Austin. I am interviewing Dr. Keith Borg, who is a physician at the Emergency Department here at MUSC. Dr. Borg, here is a really basic question, everybody knows that you should get tetanus shots periodically and yet, I never hear of anybody actually getting tetanus, what is tetanus?

Dr. Keith T. Borg:

Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by Clostridium tetani. Its a bacterium that invades and causes a devastating life-threatening disease. Its vaccinated for in childhood when you get a series of shots and then update it serially through your life. For minor injuries of cuts and abrasions , a booster every 10 years is good. For a major injury, an open deep cut with dirt in or something, recommend vaccination or an update every five years.

Dr. Linda Austin:

So, it sounds like a pretty simple thing to do that can prevent a fairly nasty illness?

Dr. Keith T. Borg:

Absolutely.

Dr. Linda Austin:

What is the illness it sounds like?

Dr. Keith T. Borg:

Tetanus is a life-threatening bacterial infection certainly marked by tetani or muscle spasms and significant progression to death in some cases.

Dr. Linda Austin:

What if you can't remember when you had your last tetanus shot?

Dr. Keith T. Borg:

Well, certainly asking your doctor is a reasonable thing or checking your medical records. If you cant find out, getting a booster is not a problem and then certainly writing that date down and knowing that date from 01.20 is a great thing.

Dr. Linda Austin:

Dr. Borg, thank you so much.

Dr. Keith T. Borg:

Thank you.

Announcer:

If you have any questions about the services or programs offered at the Medical University of South Carolina or if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, please call MUSC Health Connection at (843) 792-1414.


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