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June 21, 1930


JAMA. 1930;94(25):1977-1981. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02710510015003

The extensive literature about tetanus, including data regarding mortality, prognosis and treatment, is difficult to interpret. The confusion and the indefiniteness of the statistics are largely due to the disregard of certain clinical tendencies of tetanus relating especially to the type of injury, the incubation period, the duration of the disease, the age of the patient and prophylactic inoculation.

Specific therapy for tetanus, i. e., tetanus antitoxin, has been employed in the active treatment of cases of tetanus for about thirty years. Even after this lapse of time, most diverse opinions prevail regarding the value of specific therapy and the methods of administering it in established cases of tetanus. There are 1,500 deaths from tetanus a year in the U. S. registration area. The most extensive summaries of cases of tetanus up to the onset of the World War were in the articles by Anders and Morgan in 1905,1