Tetanus infection can be prevented by vaccination. Image: Medical Xpress

A newborn baby has died from neonatal tetanus at the Northern Provincial Hospital (NPH) on Santo early this month.

Following this report, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is urging all pregnant women who are close to their due date to seek medical care at their nearest health facilities.

The MOH said it is important that pregnant women and children below one year get vaccinated with the tetanus vaccine, to protect themselves from the infection.

Community awareness’s will be conducted on the importance of vaccination for pregnant women, attendance of antenatal visits, safe and clean delivery in health facilities and importance of childhood immunization, the MOH said.

Tetanus is different from other vaccine preventable diseases because it does not spread from one person to another.

It is caused by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani. Spores of tetanus bacteria are found in the environment, including soil and dirt.

Tetanus can cause severe muscle spasms and sometimes death. However, it can be prevented by vaccination.

“Neonatal tetanus often occurs through the cutting of the umbilical cord using non-sterile techniques or applying non-sterile traditional remedies to the umbilical cord stump, but infection of the umbilical cord is not always evident,” the MOH stated.

“Deliveries carried out by persons with unclean hands or on a contaminated surface are also risk factors for maternal and neonatal tetanus.”