18 Interesting Facts about Tetanus

18 Things You should know about Tetanus...before it's too late

By: Arlene Gentallan

List of Interesting Facts about Tetanus
Did you know that the bacteria responsible for tetanus is found virtually everywhere.
...here's what you should know before it's too late

        Tetanus is made popular by it's terrifying feature "lockjaw." It's a fatal disease. Victims may also suffer from "opisthotonus" which is an involuntary arching of the spine during which the sufferer is aware and is experiencing an intense pain,

1. If you got stump by a dirty rusty nail, there's a chance you can get this lethal infection.

2. The causative agent of tetanus, Clostridium tetani, is an obligate anaerobe. This means that they can not multiply in the presence of oxygen.

Airless environment providing favorable breeding ground to clostridium tetani includes deep wound, poorly cleaned wound, and wound with large area of dead cells.

3. Clostridium tetani, the bacteria responsible for tetanus is found virtually everywhere. It is most commonly found in soil, dust, and feces.

4. Tetanus is a common disease worldwide especially in areas with poor hygiene, sanitation, and lack of immunization.

5. The bacteria causing tetanus produces a neurotoxin called "tetanospasmin." Once it attaches itself to neurons, it can no longer be detached. It prevents the inhibitory signals to be sent leading to uncontrollable spasm.

To restore the function of the neuron, it will have to regrow new terminals and synapses.

6. Tetanus is often contracted from breaks in the skin like abrasions, cuts, scratch, and wound.

7. A larger, deeper more serious wound can increase your risk of developing tetanus, but that does not mean that you can't get tetanus from a simple scratch.

8. Tetanus is not spread from person to person contact.

9. After an injury, it may take 3-21 days for symptoms to appear. Average onset is 1 week. The nearer the entry wound to the brain, the earlier the symptoms appear and the more deadly it is.

10. The earlies sign of tetanus is lockjaw. Other symptoms includes fever, stiff neck, difficulty swallowing, facial muscle spasm, sweating, elevated blood pressure, and elevated pulse.

11. The muscle spasm caused by tetanus can be strong enough to break bones leading to fracture. Opisthotonus is a severe spasm causing backward arching of the spine, head, and neck.

12. Tetanus is difficult to treat but easy to prevent. A person's active immunity against tetanus bacteria is the best prevention.

13. Vaccination is available to prevent diphtheria, pertussis (whooping chough), and tetanus. DTaP vaccine children less than 7 years old. Tdap is a booster given to adolescent ages 11 up. DT vaccine is also available (for diphtheria and tetanus.)

14. Tetanus toxoid (TT) contains inactive tetanus toxin. Toxoids are administered to a person to activate his/her immune system to produce antibodies. It is given every 10 years as a booster to the immunization your receive when you were a child.

15. Anti tetanus serum (ATS) which contains Tetanus immune globulin is given to those who may be at risk of developing tetanus who have no time to develop passive immunity through vaccination.

Tetanus immune globulin deactivates tetanus toxins "tetanospasmin" that has not yet attached to neurons.

16. The amount of toxin needed to kill an individual is so small (it's even smaller than a dot) that the body's immune system can not be sensitized to develop it's own immunity from merely acquiring tetanus infection naturally. That's why vaccination is the best approach to developing immunity, not acquiring this deadly disease.

17. People do not develop permanent immunity against tetanus. So once you got infected, there's a chance you can get infected again in the future, especially if you are not immunized.

18. Newborn, especially those delivered at home with improper wound care of the umbilical wound stump are at increased risk of developing tetanus (neonatal tetanus.) Older adults are also at increase risk because of decline in immunity.