Tetanus; symptoms, causes and vaccine

Tetanus is a serious, potentially life-threatening disease caused by a bacterial toxin. It is most commonly caused by a puncture wound or cut that becomes contaminated with soil or other substances that contain the bacteria that produce the toxin.

Causal organism

The bacteria, Clostridium tetani, produce spores that can survive in soil for many years and are found worldwide.


Symptoms of tetanus include muscle stiffness and spasms, especially in the jaw (hence the condition being called “lockjaw”), difficulty swallowing, and fever.

The disease can lead to serious complications, such as respiratory failure and death.


Tetanus can be prevented through vaccination, and it can be treated with a combination of medications and wound care. If you think you may have been exposed to tetanus, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.