Tetanus - Dream Health

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Friday 1 August 2014


Tetanus Caused by Bacterium – Clostridium Tetani

Tetanus is a rare infection which is caused by bacteria and occurs when a flesh wound gets contaminated. . It is a medical condition characterized by contraction of skeletal muscle fibers and the primary symptoms tend to be caused by tetanospasmin which is a neurotoxin that is produced by the Gram-positive, rod shaped obligate anaerobic bacterium, Clostridium tetani.

This bacterium can live in various substances like soil, animal and human waste like manure as well as house dust. The tetanus bacteria normally enter the body through the wound or a serious burn on the body and once entered in the body they tend to multiply releasing a powerful kind of poison, neurotoxin.

This in turn disrupts the normal workings of the nerves resulting in symptoms like stiffness and muscles spasms.If the condition is not treated complications of tetanus are likely to develop which could be very fatal, dangerous and life threatening to the individual.

The infection usually takes place with wound contamination which involves either a cut or deep puncture wound and as the infection increases, muscle spasm occurs in the jaw and other areas of the body. Infection of tetanus can be prevented by proper immunization or post exposure prophylaxis.

Starts with Mild Spasm in Jaw and other Areas of the Body

Tetanus starts with mild spasms in the jaw muscle which is also known as lockjaw or trismus though the spasms can also affect the neck, chest, back, abdominal muscles and buttocks.

While back muscle spasm may cause arching called opisthotonos, at times the spasms may affect muscles connected with breathing leading to breathing problems.

The prolonged muscular function could cause sudden, painful and powerful muscle contraction known as `tetany’, wherein these episodes could give way to fractures and muscle tears.

Besides this, the symptoms could also include drooling, fever, excessive sweating, hand or foot spasm, difficulty in swallowing, - dysphagia, and irritability, with uncontrolled urination or defecation and it could also cause destruction of elements, affecting the nervous system through viral cell exchange. Diagnosis is done when someone has had a recent wound or an injury causing painful muscle spasms with muscle stiffness.

Spatula Test for Confirmation 

A spatula test will enable a confirmation of tetanus in case of doubt regarding the diagnosis which involves insertion of the spatula into the back of the throat which will cause a gag reflex and the person tends to push the spatula of the mouth.

 If the person is infected with tetanus, the spatula will cause the throat to spasmurging the person to bit down onto the spatula. Tetanus can be treated through vaccination and medication.

 If the person has a deep wound that has become contaminated by tetanus bacteria and has not been vaccinated, they should be admitted in the hospital for immediate treatment which would involve a series of medication like antibiotics, muscle relaxants and antitoxins to fight the effect of the tetanus condition.

If the person has breathing problem, a ventilator, which is a machine in assisting with the breathing, is used to help in the prevention of suffocation. Cuts and wounds should not be deprived of timely treatment which could be very dangerous and fatal to life.

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