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Tetanus Causes

Clostridium tetani, an obligate anaerobic gram-positive bacillus, causes tetanus to develop. This bacterium is nonencapsulated and forms spores, and they are resistant to heat, desiccation, and disinfectants.

Tetanus Definition

Tetanus is a medical condition that is marked by a prolonged contraction of skeletal muscle fibers. The primary symptoms are caused by tetanospasmin, a neurotoxin given out by the Gram-positive, obligate anaerobic bacterium Clostridium tetani.

Tetanus Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose tetanus based on a physical exam and symptoms of muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. Laboratory tests typically aren't helpful for diagnosing tetanus

Tetanus Symptoms and Signs

Infection generally arises through wound contamination, and often involves a cut or deep puncture wound. As the infection develops, muscle spasms in the jaw develop, hence the common name, lockjaw. This is followed by difficulty swallowing and general muscle stiffness and spasms in some other parts of the body

Tetanus Treatment

The wound must be cleaned and sterilized. Dead and infected tissue should be taken out by surgical debridement. Metronidazole treatment reduces the number of bacteria but has no effect on the bacterial toxin. Penicillin was once used to treat tetanus, but is no longer used because of a theoretical risk of increased spasms.

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