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What is Tetanus?

Tetanus is a severe, sometimes fatal, disease of the central nervous system, caused by the toxin of the tetanus bacterium, which usually enters the body through an open wound.

What are the Symptoms of Tetanus?

Symptoms may include:

  • Stiffness of the jaw (also called lockjaw)
  • Stiffness of the abdominal and back muscles
  • Contraction of the facial muscles
  • Fast pulse
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Painful muscle spasms near the wound area (if these affect the larynx or chest wall, they may cause asphyxiation)
  • Difficulty swallowing

How is Tetanus Treated?

Treatment may include:

  • Medications to control spasms
  • Thorough cleaning of the wound
  • A course of tetanus antitoxin injections
  • A tracheostomy (a breathing tube inserted surgically in the windpipe) in severe cases with respiratory problems