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HOME > J Korean Soc Traumatol > Volume 17(1); 2004 > Article
Qualitative Analysis of Anti-tetanus Antibody Titers in Korean
Journal of Trauma and Injury 2004;17(1):27-36
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Department of Emergency Medicine, Department of Surgery*, University of Ulsan, College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine**

In Korea, vaccination against tetanus began in the mid-1950s. At present, there is a routine immunization schedule with diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT) vaccines at 2,4,6 month after birth and booster at 15-18 month and 4-6 years. However, further prophylactic programs according to guidelines of Center for Disease Control do not exist due to the absence of tetanus toxoid. And we have usually used only passive immunization, tetanus immunoglobulin, as a prophylactic regimen for injured patients. In this study, we aimed to determine the tetanus antibody titers levels of Koreans and point out problems of prophylactic programs after a routine immunization schedule. Methods: This study was conducted with 112 healthy adults from August 29, 2003 to September 19, 2003. No volunteers had unstable vital signs, or had taken any medication for chronic illnesses. A questionnaire was used for the volunteers to assess their knowledge about tetanus vaccination schedule, and the whole blood was withdrawn from each volunteer to determine qualitative anti-tetanus antibody titers using TQS (Tetanus Quick Stick). TQS had been introduced as a rapid, easy method to determine the immune status. Results: Of the 112 studied subjects, only 13 (11.6%) were found to have protective levels of anti-tetanus antibody titers. There was no association between quantitative antibody titers and age, sex, educational status, economy, place of birth or residence, military service, and vaccination. Conclusion: Although tetanus is a preventive disease by the antibodies developed as a result of vaccination and its occurrence is not very common, it is associated with a rather high mortality rate. Recently, there has beena tetanus immunization shortage in Korea caused by an absence of tetanus toxoid. The effect of a tetanus shortage makes the tetanus antibody values go under the protective level for most adults. We recommend that tetanus prophylaxis in Korea should be performed following the guidelines of Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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