Tetanus is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani, the bacteria get into the body through a break in the skin and produce a toxin that attacks the nervous system. The disease is characterized by painful muscular contractions at the jaws and the neck; the trunk is sometimes also affected and generalized spasms of muscles may occur.

In severe cases, infected persons may not be able to swallow or open his/her mouth. When tetanus affects muscles that help to breathe, the patient can die very quickly.


  • A person who has sustained a wound should have the wound cleaned with antiseptics and covered properly.
  • For unclean wounds, thorough treatment by trained medical people is essential.
  • Depending on the type of wound and immunization history of the person, he/she may need to receive tetanus toxoid or immunoglobulin to prevent tetanus.