Tetanus is a serious bacterial disease that causes muscle spasms and breathing problems. The bacterium that causes tetanus is called Clostridium tetani. The bacteria produce toxins that affect the nervous system. Ten percent of people infected with the bacterium that causes tetanus will die.
Tetanus is caused by an infection with the bacterium Clostridium tetani, which is commonly found in soil, saliva, dust, and manure. The bacteria generally enter through a break in the skin such as a cut or puncture wound by a contaminated object. They produce toxins that interfere with muscle contractions, resulting in the typical symptoms
Tetanus is mainly characterized by muscle spasms. In the most common type, the spasms begin in the jaw and then progress to the rest of the body. Hence the nickname 'Lockjaw'. These spasms usually last a few minutes each time and occur frequently for three to four weeks. Spasms may be so severe that bone fractures may occur. Other symptoms may include fever, sweating, headache, trouble swallowing, high blood pressure, and a fast heart rate
The extremely serious and potentially lethal complications of tetanus due to these symptoms can include:
suffocation through the spasm of respiratory related muscles
respiratory failure due to spasms
hypertension due to high blood pressure
hypotension due to low blood pressure
heart attack because of abnormal heart beating.
Infection can be prevented by proper immunization with the tetanus vaccine.
Unlike many infectious diseases, recovery from naturally acquired tetanus does not usually result in immunity to tetanus.
The type of vaccination for this disease is called artificial active immunity. This type of immunity is generated when a dead or weakened version of the disease enters the body causing an immune response which includes the production of antibodies. This is beneficial to the body because this means that if the disease is ever introduced into the body, the immune system will recognize the antigen and produce antibodies more rapidly.
Three doses are given at monthly intervals and two further booster doses are given 10 years apart. The first vaccine can be given as a combination with diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. Following doses should be given as diphtheria and tetanus vaccine.
A diphtheria and tetanus booster is recommended from 50 years, up to and including 59 years of age.
Tetanus vaccine, also known as tetanus toxoid (TT), is an inactive vaccine used to prevent tetanus. During childhood five doses are recommended, followed by additional doses every ten years.
The following buttons contain direct links to each of the websites used for the collection of information in this Presentation