Tetanus - Causes, Symptoms, Complications, Diagnosis and Preventions


Tetanus is a serious infectious disease that attacks the nervous system and is characterized severe muscle contractions (seizures). This disease usually occurs as a result of stab wounds in the body of contaminated dust, manure, soil and animal or human feces.

Causes of Tetanus

The cause is the bacteria Clostridium tetani, a type of bacteria that can only grow and thrive in situations that are less oxygen environment (anaerobic).

Symptoms of Tetanus

Incubation period between injury until symptoms occur, generally lasts approximately 8 days (5-21 days), starting with stiffness in the jaw so that the mouth becomes locked (lockjaw) followed by:
  • Muscle stiffness in: the face, neck, chest, stomach, back up the spine arched (epistotonus), hands and legs
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Disturbance defecating and urinating

Neonatal Tetanus

Neonatal tetanus is the tetanus which attack newborns (neonates). This disease generally occurs due care less hygienic umbilical cord so contaminated by tetanus germs, and is characterized by fussy baby, stiff muscles, difficulty eating / drinking and death.

Complications of Tetanus

Severe tetanus can lead to complications such as:
  • A torn muscle
  • Vertebral fractures
  • Respiratory failure, until death due to respiratory muscle spasm
  • In infants will occur serious brain damage

Diagnosing Tetanus

Until now there is no specific laboratory tests to make sure someone is suffering from tetanus, so doctors rely on their history of injuries and the typical symptoms are found.

Examination can be done to support the diagnosis is testing a spatula that is touching the wall of the throat with a spatula (a kind of scoop), tetanus response is biting the spatula and close the mouth while a normal person would react nausea.

Preventing Tetanus

Several steps can be taken to prevent this disease are:
  • Hygienic wound care
  • Tetanus vaccine (tetanus toxoid), both primary immunization in infants and children and repeated vaccination every 10 years or in the event of a serious injury.

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