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Tetanus vaccination

Tetanus vaccination

Tetanus is an acute infectious disease caused by spores of the bacterium Clostridium tetani. Spores are found everywhere in the environment, particularly in soils, ashes, human or animal intestines/feces, and on skin surfaces and rusty tools such as nails, needles, barbed wire, etc. Because of their high resistance to heat and most antiseptics, spores can survive for years.

Anyone can contract tetanus, but the disease is particularly common and serious in newborns and pregnant women who have not been sufficiently immunized with vaccines containing tetanus toxoid. Tetanus during pregnancy or within 6 weeks of the end of pregnancy is known as “maternal tetanus”, and within the first 28 days of life as “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 facial muscles produce a particular facial expression resembling a forced smile, or painful muscle contractions. Although this definition assumes a history of injury or wound, tetanus can also affect patients who have no recollection of having sustained a particular injury.

Source: World Health Organization