Insect Bite Update!

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cat woman | 12:05 Mon 04th Jul 2005 | Body & Soul
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Last week I posted a thread about an insect bite on my ankle, I have thanked the ABers who gave me advice in what to do. I did end up going to a doctor and she prescribed Anti-biotics.  The thing is while I was there I mentioned to her that I hadn't had a Tetanus Injection since 1992 and that I was overdue, she told me that I was covered and wouldn't need to be vaccinated again. I think that my ankle reacted badly to this insect bite because of not having a recent tetanus jab.  I have been on Google this morning and 2 links have contradicted her and say that tetanus injections should be repeated after 10yrs and as I was infected out in the garden where there is iffy soil and bugs I am really concerned. Can anyone please put my mind at ease, I'm probably just over reacting and have nothing to worry about.

Thank you in advance for any feed back. cat woman.  :-)


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I work with animals and therefore have my tetanus boosted every 5 years but my doc says every 10 for most people.
Have to agree, I also thought it was every 10yrs, although I went 25yrs without thinking about getting a booster.  Only when I hurt my thumbvnail did the Dr make me have 3 tetanus injections. (1 every 2 months and then 1 more after a year)

Current Department of Health guidelines for tetanus state that if you have received 5 vaccinations (the paediatric schedule in this country provides 5) then this should confer lifelong immunity to tetanus, unless you are at increased risk due to travel etc. ( where you may be too far from a source of tetanus immunoglobulin, should you receive a tetanus prone wound)

With regards to whether tetanus is a potential problem with your insect bite - tetanus is caused by the toxin produced under anaerobic conditions by the bacterium "Clostridium tetani". The bacterium is found everywhere, but especially in soil,dust & human and animal faeces. Transmission is generally by a dirty puncture wound, burn or scratch and the incubation period is 4-21 days.

Generally, insect wounds unless aren't considered to be one of methods of transmission, and tetanus wouldn't really cause the type of problem you have described,so I would hope that you shouldn't have to worry about tetanus on this occasion.


I went for a 10 year booster a few years ago and was told it was now 15 years. Went back 5 years later and the nurse gave me a booster, though she said that people of my age will have had enough for immunity for life (like scubadiver says), unless you work on a farm.

Everytime someone comes into the emergency department with any sort of wound, we always administer a tetanus shot as a precaution.

Everyone above is right, and current guidelines state that no more than 10 years should elapse before receiving a booster, although many people only have the injection when they have presented themselves with an injury.

I wouldnt be worried about it either way, tetanus is easily treated if caught early, and recent studies have shown that only 1 in 6,800,000 contract tetanus over the course of a year!

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