ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tetanus Causes and Treatment

Updated on January 12, 2011

Tetanus is a disease produced by tetanospasmin, a component of the toxin secreted by the bacterium Clostridium tetani.

Tetanospasmin is an extremely strong poison that affects the nervous system. A single milligram of it can kill about 20 million white mice.

Epidemiology

Clostridium tetani bacteria can enter the body through any wound, but perforated wounds of the feet and wounds containing foreign bodies are the ones most often infected.

Although tetanus exists throughout the world it is particularly prevalent in tropical areas with poor sanitation. In India, for example, tetanus causes several hundred thousand deaths a year, but in Sweden it causes less than ten. About 80% of the people in the United States who get tetanus are addicted to injectable drugs.

Course of the Disease

The incubation period ranges from 2 to 60 days. The dominant early symptoms are headache, toothache, and profuse sweating. The patient may also be anxious and overexcited. Soon there are muscular contractions, or spasms. The intensity, frequency, and sites of these contractions vary considerably. In mild cases they are limited to the head and neck, a condition commonly known as lockjaw.

In severe cases the spasms are generalized, occurring in the back, extremities, diaphragm, and respiratory muscles.

There are many complications of tetanus, including intestinal ulcers, blood clot formation, and respiratory disorders. The complications most often responsible for death are respiratory disorders and cardiac arrest. Only in mild cases of tetanus is the prognosis favorable. The overall fatality rate is more than 40%.

Treatment of Tetanus

There is no known treatment for tetanus. In young patients the prognosis can be improved with artificial respiration in a respirator and the administration of such muscle relaxing drugs as curarines or diazepam. Contracting tetanus once does not provide future immunity, and all tetanus patients should be immunized after they recover.

Preventing Tetanus

Active immunization against tetanus is totally safe and effective. The substance used for immunization is tetanus toxoid, toxin that has been deprived of its harmful properties but not its ability to provoke the body's formation of antibodies. For children, three intramuscular injections of toxoid, usually combined with other vaccines, should be given after the third month of life. Adults should receive two or three injections. There is fair evidence that such immunization, enhanced by a booster injection later on, provides immunity for life.

After an injury has occurred, completely immunized patients should receive a toxoid booster unless they have had one during the past year.

Patients only partly immunized or not immunized should receive active immunization. However, such a measure cannot guarantee protection against the disease in non-immunized people. Additional prophylaxis may be afforded by the administration of tetanus antitoxin (antibodies).

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)