Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis Immunizations

Tetanus (lockjaw) enters the body through a break in the skin and is not contagious, transmitted from person to person.

Diphtheria is a contagious respiratory disease caused by bacteria and is spread by coughing and sneezing.

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a very contagious respiratory disease caused by bacteria and is spread by coughing and sneezing.

Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis Signs & Symptoms

   
Tetanus:  Tightening of the jaw muscles (lockjaw), stiffness in the neck and abdomen, difficulty swallowing and severe muscle spasms.

Diphtheria:  Gradual onset of a sore throat and low-grade fever, thick covering in the back of the throat and breathing problems.

Pertussis starts like the common cold with runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and cough.  After 1-2 weeks, the cough can become severe.






Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis Immunization Recommendations  

   
There are combination vaccines used to prevent diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis:

  • DTaP and DT are given to children younger than 7 years of age
  • Tdap and Td are given to older children and adults

Immunization is recommended for:

Adolescents 11 through 18
  • A dose of Tdap is recommended for adolescents who got DTaP or DTP as children and have not yet gotten a booster dose of Td.  The preferred age is 11-12.
  • Adolescents who have already gotten a booster dose of Td are encouraged to get a dose of Tdap as well, for protection against pertussis. Waiting at least 5 years between Td and Tdap is encouraged, but not required.
  • Adolescents who did not get all their scheduled doses of DTaP or DTP as children should complete the series using a combination of Td and Tdap.  

Adults 19 and Older
  • All adults should get a booster dose of Td every 10 years.  
  • Adults under 65 who expect to have close contact with an infant younger than 12 months of age.
  • Healthcare workers under 65 who have direct patient contact in hospitals or clinics.
  • Most pregnant women who were not previously vaccinated with Tdap should get one dose of Tdap before leaving the hospital or birthing center.  Getting vaccinated with Tdap is especially important for families with new infants.

Protection After a Wound
A person who gets a severe cut or burn might need a dose of Td or Tdap to prevent tetanus infection.  











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