In Indonesia, the Aceh earthquake and tsunami in 2004 killed 127,000 people and caused half a million injuries, while the Yogyakarta earthquake in 2006 caused 5,700 deaths and 37,000 injuries. Because disaster-affected areas are vulnerable to epidemic-prone diseases and tetanus is one such disease that is preventable, we systematically reviewed the literature related to tetanus outbreaks following previous two natural disasters in Indonesia. Based on our findings, recommendations for proper vaccination and education can be made for future countermeasures. Using specified keywords related to tetanus and disasters, relevant documents were screened from PubMed, the WHO website, and books. Reports offering limited data and those released before 2004 were excluded. In all, 16 publications were reviewed systematically. Results show that 106 cases of tetanus occurred in Aceh, with a case fatality ratio (CFR) of 18.9%; 71 cases occurred in Yogyakarta, with CFR of 36.6%. For both outbreaks, most patients had been wounded during scavenging or evacuation after the disaster occurred. Poor access to health care because of limited transportation or hospital facilities, and low vaccination coverage and lack of awareness of tetanus risk contributed to delayed treatment and case severity. Tetanus outbreaks after disasters are preventable by increasing vaccination coverage, improving wound care treatment, and establishing a regular surveillance system, in addition to good practices of disaster management and supportive care following national guidelines. Furthermore, health education for communities should be provided to raise awareness of tetanus risk reduction.
Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, volume 238, issue 3, pp. 219-227