Clostridium Tetani
Clostridium Tetani
Image of the Bacteria
Image of the Bacteria
(Clostridium tetani)

General Information:Tetanus, is a infectious disease which is also called "Lockjaw". It is a preventable but yet fatal disease which causes prolonged muscle contractions and muscle spasms which happens all over the body and also "locks" the jaws, hence the name "Lockjaw". This disease is caused by the contamination of wounds with the spore of this bacteria. Transmission:
The process of Tetanus
The process of Tetanus
The bacteria which is responsible for Tetanus is scientifically called Clostridium tetani. They appear in two forms, either as spores (dormant/inactive) which can live a few years or in the form of a vegetative cell(active). This bacteria appear in the form of spores while in the soil, dust, animal wastes and intestines.
  1. The process starts when wounds are contaminated with this spore.
  2. The infection process starts when the spores are activated and they start to develop into gram-positive bacteria which multiplies and produces a toxin.
  3. The toxin "tetanospasmin" affects the motor nerves by entering the axon and reaching the motor nerves in the spinal core or brainstem.
  4. Then the toxin interferes with neurotransmitters in the nerves and causes chemical instructions to increase, hence causing regional muscle spasms.
  5. If the toxin is carried away by the blood streams, muscle spasm may happen on other muscle tissues
Wounds contaminated with these spores are quite common, and the disease will only happen if the spores germinates and change into active cells.
High-risk WoundsNearly all kinds of wounds which are contaminated with this spore have the potential to cause this disease.Some of the common wounds/injuries at risk are:

  • burns
  • IV access sites
  • frostbites
  • surgery
  • crush injuries
  • abscesses
  • childbirth
Injuries which includes foreign bodies and dead tissue are most at risk of developing Tetanus .

SymptomsThe incubation period is about 3 days to 3 week.
Some symptoms of Tetanus
Some symptoms of Tetanus

The most well know symptom of Tetanus is muscle rigidity and spasm, often the facial muscles are often affected first and this condition is called Lockjaw.However, other than the signature muscle symptoms, there are other symptoms for generalized Tetanus are as followings:-

  • Irritability
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Rigid abdominal muscles
  • Spasms in the neck, arms, legs, and abdomen
  • Convulsions, which are sometimes severe enough to break bones

Treatments:In developing countries, Tetanus have killed hundreds of thousands of new-born babies and took lives of their mothers away soon after birth. Not properly sterilized facilities have caused these tragedies to happen
Although treatments are available, in recent researches, it is estimated that 40% of all incidents are fatal. Other than this, infants infected with Tetanus are almost certainly fatal.To treat Tetanus, antibiotics are used and sedatives are injected to control muscle spasms. Also wounds will be cleaned of all foreign bodies to clean of the bacteria.

Preventions:Of course, prevention is alays better than medications, so vaccines called DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) shots are given to infants at the first year, and to ensure immunity, booster shot should be given every 10 years.
A Tetanus vaccine
A Tetanus vaccine

Tetanus - Bacteria, Disease, Body, Spasms, Months, and Infants . (n.d.). Science Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 1, 2010, from

Tetanus. (n.d.). emedicinehealth . Retrieved September 1, 2010, from MedlinePlus. (n.d.).
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