Tetanus - Definition

March 2017


Definition


Tetanus is an infectious disease caused by a specific germ: the Clostridium tetani. This bacterium is most commonly found in the soil and in animal feces. The disease is contracted usually through an open wound, within which the germ multiplies. It manifests with spasms, painful muscular contractions, and muscular rigidity, that cannot be controlled. The first muscles to be affected are generally the facial muscles, after which the disease spreads to the rest of the body. This disease can be fatal if left untreated. The tetanus vaccination has, since 1952, been obligatory in newborns in France, and constitutes an efficient prevention against the disease. It is injected in concert with the vaccination for diphtheria and poliomyelitis, or polio, following a precise timetable of injections at 2, 3, and 4 months old, then again between 16 and 18 months, between 11 and 13 years, then every 10 years.

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