Tetanus

Other Name: Lockjaw

What it is: Tetanus is a bacterial infection of the nervous system. It results in spasm and stiffness in all the muscles, making breathing
difficult and could result in death.

How could I get it? Tetanus infections usually occur through wound contamination. The infecting organisms -bacteria- are usually found in
the soil and in the feces of animals and humans. The most trivial and apparently clean wound may be a portal of entry for this organism.

How do I avoid this serious disease? The best way to avoid getting this disease is to keep your tetanus immunization current. Children are
usually given this vaccine as part of their childhood vaccinations.

After that, a vaccine should be given every 7-10 years. The following schedule should be followed:

  • Vaccination current (less than 5 years) : nothing needed
  • Vaccination recent (5-10 years) : single booster needed
  • Vaccination old (more than 10 years ago): full vaccination needed, consisting in three injections (second, 4-6wks later; third, one year later).

In addition, you may be given an initial injection of globulin (antidote) if the likelihood of infection is high.