Key Fact: 16 million people are walking today as a result of a 99% reduction in cases since 1998 due to effective vaccination programmes.
Cases: 37 cases worldwide annually.
Symptoms: Fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness of the neck, pain in the limbs43
Severe Case: Paralysis (in the legs, muscles used for breathing), death.
Key Fact: In the UK, around 1 in every 7–10 people who develop tetanus will die from the condition.
Percutaneous: Infection with Clostridium tetani through a scratch, wound or animal bite, or unhygienic hospital practices.
Cases: 1 million cases worldwide annually (estimated).
Symptoms: Stiffness in the jaw muscles (lockjaw), painful muscle spasms (affecting swallowing and breathing), fever, sweating, rapid heartbeat.
Severe Case: Suffocation, cardiac arrest, death.
Precaution: Vaccination; Appropriate and thorough wound care.
Key Fact: 5-10% of people who get the infection will die from complications.
Respiratory: Person-to-person through close contact with someone infected with C. diphtheria, or their possessions.
Cases: 4,530 cases worldwide annually (estimated)
Symptoms: Mild fever (rarely >38.3 degrees), sore throat, difficulty swallowing, malaise, loss of appetite, and if the larynx is involved, hoarseness.
Severe Case: Pseudo-membranes form in the throat, tonsils, pharynx and larynx causing a potentially fatal obstruction of the airway and breathing difficulties.
Precautions: Ensure diphtheria vaccinations are up-to-date or obtain a booster if travelling to endemic areas; Regular and thorough hand hygiene; Minimise contact with people showing symptoms of respiratory illness; Avoid sharing personal items such as eating drinking utensils, toothbrushes and towels; Regularly cleaning surfaces susceptible to carrying infection.