Tetanus is a non-communicable disease occurring all over the world, but is more prevalent in low and middle-income countries, where the maternal and neonatal form of the disease is still frequent and devastating. This often-fatal infectious disease is caused by the spores of the bacterium Clostridium tetani, which penetrates the body through lesions or as a result of medical acts performed under insufficient aseptic precautions.

For nearly 100 years, Sanofi Pasteur and its preceding companies have provided a vaccine for this disease. The WHO estimates that in 2015, approximately 34,000 newborns died from neonatal tetanus 1. In the absence of treatment, the outcome is almost always fatal, particularly in the very young or the elderly, and even after appropriate treatment, tetanus-related mortality remains high.


  1. WHO. Tetanus vaccine, WHO position paper. Weekly Epidemiological Record.10 February 2017, No.6, 92, 53-76.
  2. WHO. Tetanus vaccines position paper. WER 2017, 92, 53–76. Accessed January 2018. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/254582/1/WER9206.pdf
  3. WHO. Immunization Coverage Fact Sheet. Reviewed January 2018. Accessed January 2018. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs378/en/
  4. CDC. Tetanus. Diagnosis and treatment. Last updated: January 10, 2017. Accessed January 2018, Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/tetanus/about/diagnosis-treatment.html

This page last update: 09-2019