FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 12, 2005
Contact: Lindsay Hodges (850) 245-4111
**HURRICANE DENNIS INFORMATION SHEET **
Department of Health Recommends Tetanus Vaccine for
Individuals Who Suffer Wounds
TALLAHASSEE – With the amount of debris left by Hurricane
Dennis, Floridians working on clean-up efforts could be at
risk of sustaining injuries. Below is information on who may
or may not need to receive a vaccination.
- Individuals who
have not had a cut or wound do not require tetanus
vaccination regardless of their exposure to floodwaters.
Residents who sustain lacerations and/or puncture wounds and
have not had a tetanus vaccination within the past 10 years
require a tetanus booster.
- If a person has an especially
serious wound, then it is advised that he/she receive a
tetanus booster within five years of last vaccination.
you sustain a wound or deep cut that concerns you, seek
medical attention. Medical attention is required to
determine if a tetanus booster is needed.
- Proper wound
care is essential for all cuts and lacerations regardless of
exposure to floodwaters.
WHAT IS TETANUS?
Tetanus, commonly called lockjaw, is a bacterial disease
that affects the nervous system. It is contracted through a
cut or wound that becomes contaminated with tetanus
bacteria. The bacteria can get in through even a tiny
pinprick or scratch, but deep puncture wounds or cuts like
those made by nails, knives or barbed-wire, for example are
especially susceptible to infection with tetanus. Tetanus
bacteria are present worldwide and are commonly found in
soil, dust and manure. Infection with tetanus causes severe
muscle spasms, leading to "locking" of the jaw so the
patient cannot open his/her mouth or swallow, and may even
lead to death by suffocation. Tetanus is not transmitted
from person to person.
Common first signs of tetanus are headache and muscular
stiffness in the jaw (lockjaw) followed by stiffness of the
neck, difficulty in swallowing, rigidity of abdominal
muscles, spasms, sweating and fever. Symptoms usually begin
eight days after the infection, but may range in onset from
three days to three weeks.
Individuals, deployed to work on recovery efforts, are
encouraged to contact their primary care provider or local
CHD prior to deployment if they feel they need a tetanus
For further information, please contact your local county
health department or visit
The Florida Emergency Information Line: 1-800-342-3557
Public Information Emergency Support Function: