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Diseases & Topics

Tetanus

Tetanus (lockjaw) is a vaccine-preventable, serious disease caused by bacteria that enter the body through a break in the skin, usually a puncture wound. It is not transmitted from person to person.

Tetanus infection causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to "locking" of the jaw so the victim cannot open his mouth or swallow. It leads to death in about one or two in ten cases.

Everyone needs protection from tetanus, from infants to the elderly. Several vaccines are used to prevent tetanus, including DTaP, Tdap, DT, and Td. Children routinely receive the vaccine. Periodic "booster shots" help maintain immunization throughout a person's lifetime.

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