Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

There has been considerable uncertainty about the risks and severity of tetanus after intramuscular quinine, a widely used treatment of severe malaria in the rural tropics. We have compared the clinical features and outcome of tetanus in which injection was the only apparent site of infection with tetanus acquired by other routes in patients admitted to the Centre for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In 1081 consecutive patients with tetanus treated between Jan 26, 1989, and May 27, 1991, 27 followed intramuscular quinine and 15 followed injections of other drugs. Overall mortality was 26% (285/1081). Mortality in patients who had not had preceding injections was 24% (250/1039) compared with 96% (26/27) in the quinine group (relative risk 4.0, 95% CI 3.5-4.6) (p < 0.0001), and 60% (9/15) in the other injections group (2.5, 1.6-3.8) (p < 0.005). 21 patients (78%) in the quinine group died within 72 h of admission compared with 5 (33%) in the other intramuscular injections group (p < 0.01) and 4 (7%) of 54 matched controls (p < 0.0001). Tetanus that follows intramuscular injections has a poor prognosis, but when it follows intramuscular quinine it is usually rapidly fatal.


Journal article



Publication Date





786 - 787


Adult, Cause of Death, Cohort Studies, Female, Humans, Injections, Intramuscular, Malaria, Male, Prognosis, Quinine, Retrospective Studies, Tetanus, Vietnam