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Tetanus is an acute infectious disease caused by the spores of the bacteria Clostridium tetani. The spores are present everywhere in the environment, especially in soils, ash, human or animal gut / faeces, and on the surfaces of skin and rusty tools like nails, needles, barbed wire, etc. . Due to their high resistance to heat and most antiseptics, the spores can survive for years.

Anyone can get tetanus, but the disease is particularly common and severe in newborns and pregnant women who have not been adequately immunized with vaccines containing tetanus toxoid. Tetanus during pregnancy or within 6 weeks after the end of pregnancy is called "maternal tetanus", and in the first 28 days of life it is called "neonatal tetanus".

The WHO definition of non-neonatal tetanus is based on the presence of at least one of the following signs: Continuous spasms of the muscles of the face produce a peculiar facial expression that resembles a forced smile, or painful muscle contractions. Although this definition assumes a history of injury or wound, tetanus can also affect patients who do not remember having sustained a particular injury

Source: World Health Organization