Tetanus Tetanus Tetanus is a serious, sometimes fatal, disease caused by the infection of a puncture wound in the skin by spores containing the bacterium, Clostridium tetani. These bacterial spores are commonly found in soil, animal excrement, house dust, operating rooms, contaminated heroin, and most surprisingly the human colon. The bacteria that causes tetanus cannot grow in the presence of oxygen. That is why the bacteria do not grow in shallow or wide wounds exposed to air. The way these spores enter your body is through a wound that penetrates the skin and extends deeper than oxygen can reach.

The spores then produce a nerve toxin as they multiply and enter the bloodstream. The newly produced nerve toxin causes spasms and convulsions by interfering with the nerves that control muscles. The toxin moves inward towards the spine at about 10 inches a day. Once tetanus has spread, the mortality rate is approximately 40%. The tetanus bacteria commonly live in the intestines of both animals and humans. As mentioned earlier, tetanus is found in soil, animal excrement, house dust, operating rooms, contaminated heroin, and the human colon, but the most prevalent way of communication is through animal bites.

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Wild animals are perfect carriers for tetanus, and with natures constant unpredictability there is always a chance of infection. There is also many unknown ways of infection that you may never have thought were possible for tetanus; such as stomach ulcers and infected umbilical cords. Symptoms are extensive and painful, some of which include uncontrollable spasms, stiff jaw and neck muscles, difficulty swallowing, slight fever, headache, chills, involuntary contraction of muscles, and irritability. Typically the first symptoms are felt eight to twelve days after infection. In severe infections it takes only a minor stimulus to trigger s seizure.

If muscle spasms develop early, chances of recovery are poor. Some of the most common risk factors occur in people who have not had recent booster vaccinations against the disease. Fortunately there are only about 50 cases a year that are reported in this country. Of those 50 about three quarters are elderly people or people who have never been immunized. Though an estimated one million infants die of tetanus in developing countries each year because of poor hygiene.

If tetanus ever develops in your body you must seek medical attention immediately. You may receive a course of antibiotics and an injection of tetanus antitoxin. Other treatments include medications such as chlorpromazine, diazepam, and you may even require the aid of an artificial respirator or other life support measures during the first couple weeks. Prevention is of the most importance since tetanus is often fatal, even with expert treatment. The two major means of prevention are immunization and wound care. Immunizations should be given at least every 10 years and possibly sooner.

When you have a wound, even a tiny scratch there is always a possibility of contracting tetanus. You can never be too careful, so take every precaution and take care of yourself. You never know when you could have tetanus. Bibliography Works Cited 1.)http://www.metrokc.gov/health/prevcont/tetanus. htm 2.)http://www.health-net.com/tetanus.htm 3.)http://www.onhealth.com/home/resource/condition s/fulltext/item ,670.asp Medicine and Health Care.