Acute Communicable Disease Control

Tetanus is a serious bacterial disease that leads to stiffness of your jaw muscles and other muscles. It can cause severe muscle spasms, make breathing difficult and, ultimately, threaten your life.

A cut, puncture wound, laceration or other wound can lead to a tetanus infection and toxin production if you don't have immunity. Spores of the tetanus bacteria, Clostridium tetani, usually are found in the soil, but can occur virtually anywhere. If deposited in a wound, the bacteria can produce a toxin that interferes with the nerves controlling your muscles.

Treatment for tetanus is available, but the process is lengthy and not uniformly effective. Tetanus may be fatal despite treatment. The disease is rare in the United States, with less than 100 cases of tetanus reported annually. The best defense against tetanus is prevention.

Additional Resources