Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Bitten by a Human Tetanus

Tetanus is a rare complication of a human bite. Most children born in the US have received three tetanus shots (boosters) in the past, because these boosters are part of the usual vaccination schedule. Additional tetanus boosters are given every 10 years.

Those who require treatment to prevent tetanus include:

Dirty wounds include:
  • Wounds that occur outdoors
  • Wounds that contain dirt or foreign material
  • Wounds caused by bites

Treatment Options

Tetanus Vaccine and TIG Recommendations
HistoryClean, Minor WoundOther Wounds
< 3 boostersgive Tdgive Td + TIG
3 boosterspossible Tdpossible Td

Clean and minor wounds may need a booster if it has been more than 10 years since the last tetanus vaccine. Other wounds may need a booster if it has been more than 5 years since last tetanus vaccine.

Continue to Bitten by a Human Home Care

Last Updated: Nov 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Bitten by a Human References
  1. Brook I. Management of human and animal bite wounds: an overview. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2005 May;18(4):197-203. [15920371]
  2. Brook I. Microbiology and management of human and animal bite wound infections. Prim Care. 2003 Mar;30(1):25-39, v. [12825249]
  3. Correira K. Managing dog, cat, and human bite wounds. JAAPA. 2003 Apr;16(4):28-32, 34, 37. [14968515]
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