Infectious Diseases: Tetanus (Also Called Lockjaw)


Poison from the tetanus germ can spread from the nerves to the muscles. Muscles may lock into place or go into spasm, which is very painful. A person may not be able to swallow or open the mouth. If the poison gets to the muscles that help with breathing, a person can die quickly.


Caused by bacteria in dirt and dust.


Antibiotics that kill the tetanus germs.


Transmitted when a tetanus germ gets into an open cut on your body. Vaccine is available that is usually given in combination with the diphtheria toxoid and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine (DPT). Regular booster injections are necessary every 10 years after childhood in order to ensure protection throughout adulthood. Tetanus is rare in Canada because almost everyone has been vaccinated. Ask your doctor when your child should get the appropriate vaccine.

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