Geraldine M. McQuillan, PhD; Susan Y. Chu, PhD
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McQuillan G., Chu S.; Diphtheria and Tetanus Immunity. Ann Intern Med. 2002;137:775. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-137-9-200211050-00025
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2002;137(9):775.
The current supply of tetanus–diphtheria toxoids is now sufficient (1) to resume the routine schedule for tetanus–diphtheria boosters every 10 years, as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (2). Adherence to this schedule provides the best strategy for improving immunization to both these diseases in the United States. As Dr. Balestra mentions, the disparity between tetanus and diphtheria immunity suggests that tetanus toxoid boosters are being used for wound management instead of tetanus–diphtheria boosters (2). Physicians should take the opportunity of providing boosters of tetanus–diphtheria, not tetanus toxoid, to their patients for both wound management and routine immunization. This will help prevent in the United States the situation seen in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s (3), when diphtheria reemerged because of decreasing population immunity. We hope our data have made both physicians and their patients more aware of the adult immunization schedule and the need to receive tetanus–diphtheria boosters.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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