Tetanus News

Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani. Rather than being spread from person to person like some bacterial infections, it is transmitted to people through things in the environment, like dust, soil and manure. Though they are present everywhere, the bacteria that cause tetanus won’t infect the body unless they are exposed to broken skin in the form of a wound or cut. People frequently get tetanus through a puncture wound, like stepping on a nail, or from a burn, cut or wound that gets contaminated with dirt, spit or feces.



Tetanus symptoms can be severe, and it is considered a medical emergency. The first sign is typically the tightening of the muscles in the jaw and mouth, known as lockjaw. Muscles can stiffen and tighten all over the body, and a person with tetanus can get a headache or have difficulty swallowing. High blood pressure, rapid heart rate, sweating, fever and seizures are other symptoms of tetanus. Without treatment, tetanus can lead to complications like broken bones, a blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism), pneumonia and severe breathing problems that sometimes end in death.


Prevention and Treatment

The best way to prevent tetanus infection is to keep up to date on the vaccine. This is given as part of the regular course of childhood immunizations, and adults should get another injection, or booster, of the vaccine every 10 years. If you get a severe burn, cut or puncture wound, it’s a good idea to ask the doctor if a tetanus vaccine is needed before symptoms arise.


An active tetanus infection needs to be treated aggressively in a hospital setting. Human tetanus immune globulin (TIG) is the typical treatment, along with the tetanus vaccine. Treatment will likely also include antibiotics and medications to treat any muscle spasms and heal wounds.


SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Date Posted
Article Title
Adults Don't Need Tetanus Shot Every Decade: Study

Booster shot every 30 years would protect as well as every 10 years, and save money, researchers contend

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One patient with glioblastoma still alive nine years later

Whooping Cough Vaccine Seems Safe in Pregnancy, Study Finds

Shot helps protect newborns against potentially deadly bacteria, experts say

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Shots Should Be on College Kids' Back-to-School List

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Experts Revise Guidelines for Whooping Cough Vaccination

Recent re-emergence of the illness is behind changes to Tdap shot

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But health experts say there's still room for improvement among 11- and 12-year-olds

HPV Vaccination Rates Low Among Teen Girls, CDC Reports

Without 3-shot series, women remain at risk for infection linked to cervical cancer, experts warn

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First single vaccine to prevent all 3 diseases in elderly

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Lower levels of antibodies to whooping cough, tetanus seen in newborns exposed but not infected

Tylenol May Weaken Effectiveness of Kids' Vaccines

Giving analgesic to prevent fever at shot time could be counterproductive, researchers say

U.S. Childhood Vaccine Rates Good But Could Be Better: CDC

Compliance still high and stable, but more coverage needed among poor, report finds

Health Tip: Getting a Tetanus Shot

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Health Tip: How You Get Tetanus

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Health Tip: Tetanus is Rare But Serious

Make sure you get regular shots

Health Tip: Tetanus, Anyone?

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Tetanus, Anyone?

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Tetanus-Diphtheria: The Forgotten Immunization

More than half of U.S. adults don't get needed boosters

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Those taking precautions seldom get infected

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New vaccination device could save thousands of lives

School Tetanus Requirements Eased

States granting temporary exceptions to deal with vaccine shortage