Geraldine M. McQuillan, PhD; Deanna Kruszon-Moran, MS; Adamadia Deforest, PhD; Susan Y. Chu, PhD, MSPH; Melinda Wharton, MD, MPH
McQuillan GM, Kruszon-Moran D, Deforest A, Chu SY, Wharton M. Serologic Immunity to Diphtheria and Tetanus in the United States. Ann Intern Med. 2002;136:660-666. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-136-9-200205070-00008
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2002;136(9):660-666.
Although immunization against diphtheria and tetanus is nearly universal during childhood, immunity wanes as people age. The prevalence of immunity in adults is unknown.
According to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), only 60% of the total adult population had serologic protection against diphtheria; 72% were protected against tetanus. By age 70, only 30% of adults had serologic immunity to either disease.
Booster immunization every 10 years is important to protect adults against diphtheria and tetanus.
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