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Beware of the Danger of Tetanus Neonatorum in Newborns

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Beware of the Danger of Tetanus Neonatorum in Newborns
Beware of the Danger of Tetanus Neonatorum in Newborns

Tetanus neonatorum is a tetanus disease that attacks newborns. Newborns are at high risk of developing tetanus if they are born with the help of unsterilized delivery equipment

Early prevention of neonatal tetanus is prioritized over treatment, because the mortality rate of patients with neonatal tetanus is very high. This disease is still commonly found in rural or remote areas where facilities and medical personnel are still difficult to find.

Beware of the Dangers of Tetanus Neonatorum in Newborns - Alodokter

Causes of Tetanus Neonatorum

The main cause of tetanus is infection with the bacterium Clostridium tetani, which is a bacterium that can produce toxins that can attack the brain and central nervous system.

This bacterium is commonly found in soil, dust, and animal waste. The bacteria C. tetani can infect a person, including a baby, through cuts, tears, or puncture wounds caused by contaminated objects.

In newborns, tetanus neonatorum occurs as a result of these bacteria entering the baby's body through unhygienic delivery practices, such as cutting the umbilical cord with unsterile tools.

The risk of the baby suffering from neonatal tetanus can also increase because the mother is not protected by the tetanus toxoid (TT) vaccine during pregnancy. This risk increases not only for the baby, but also for the mother.

Some other risk factors for neonatal tetanus, including:

  • The process of giving birth at home with non-sterile tools.
  • There is exposure to materials that have the potential to transmit C. tetani bacteria at locations or tools used for childbirth or to treat the umbilical cord, such as soil or mud.
  • History of tetanus neonatorum in previous children.

Knowing the Symptoms That Caused

Some of the symptoms that may be caused if the baby is infected with tetanus neonatorum include:

  • The baby's jaw and facial muscles tighten on the 2–3rd day postpartum
  • The baby's mouth feels stiff as if it is locked and the baby can't breastfeed
  • Spasm or generalized muscle rigidity that causes the baby's body to stiffen or appear to bend backwards
  • Seizures triggered by sound, light or touch

If not treated as soon as possible, this condition can make the baby unable to breathe. Most infant deaths due to neonatal tetanus occur between days 3–28 after birth.

Although currently the number of cases of neonatal tetanus has decreased, this case is still a concern for doctors and midwives in dealing with newborns.

Early Prevention of Tetanus Neonatorum

A common prevention is the provision of TT vaccination for pregnant women to protect the body from tetanus. The TT vaccine is usually given by a doctor when the pregnant woman is in the third trimester. The second dose is given at least 4 weeks after the first dose.

The World He alth Organization (WHO) also recommends that a third vaccine be given 6 months after the second dose to provide at least 5 years of protection.

In addition to using vaccines, sterile medical procedures and deliveries in hospitals can prevent babies from contracting neonatal tetanus. This is because most babies who die from neonatal tetanus are caused by home deliveries without adequate sterile procedures and an unsanitary environment.

The placement of village midwives in the working area of ​​the Puskesmas is also one of the efforts of the Indonesian Ministry of He alth to maintain and improve the he alth status of the community, especially pregnant women, assist in childbirth, and improve the he alth of mothers and children.

Tetanus neonatorum can be fatal to babies, so it is important to take precautions. If there are symptoms of tetanus neonatorum in babies, immediately consult a doctor for proper treatment.

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