Tetanus: Facts, Causes, Symptoms and Therapy Management


    Tetanus derived from the Greek word “stretching” is an acute disease caused by the anaerobic (without oxygen).

    Clostridium tetani bacteria

    Gram-positive, non-capsulated spore-forming bacteria Clostridium tetani (“C. tetani”). C. tetani can withstand very high temperatures and are not spread from person to person. It is a rare and often deadly neurological disorder that causes increased tone and muscle cramps by the bacteria. The most common way in which the bacterium enters the body is using wounds that are infectious when they are: “contaminated with soil, stool or salivary, prickly wounds, including immune injection sites, abnormal tissue including burns, deposits and degradative injuries “.

    The tetanus of the disease extends until the fifth century BC. However, it was only in the late 1800s that Arthur Nicolaier discovered the toxins that caused tetanus, which can infect various species and that protection can be granted through passive transfer of an antitoxin. A few years after the discovery of tetanus toxins, Robert Koch was able to obtain a culture of the bacteria. In 1924, immunization to protect people from tetanus was developed by Pierre Descombey, and in 1940, tetanus immunization became routinely routine in children’s vaccines.

    Features and clinical presentation

    There are four different forms of tetanus: common, local, cephalic and neonatal tetanus.

    General Tetanus:

    General tetanus attacks muscles throughout the body and is the most common form of this disease.

    Muscle stiffness and spasms that occur in about 80% of cases. In the general type, it attacks and the tetanospasmin usually inhibits the central nervous system motor neurons and later the neurons of the Autonomic Nervous System. As a result, a person experiences uncontrollable intense muscle contractions. The first muscular muscles are the facial and jaw muscles through their short nerve pathways. This situation is usually referred to as the final jaw or trismus.

    As the disease progresses, the person will experience stiffness of the neck, difficulty stinging and stiffness of the abdominal muscles. Spasms can be produced by stimuli such as light, sound, touch, or unexpected happening without a specific reason. Spasmen are very painful and can often occur and may take several minutes. In general tetanus, spasms remain for 3-4 weeks, and the full recovery may take months. “After a few days, the autonomic nervous system will be affected, causing others to feel like fever, sweating, elevated blood pressure and increased or rapid heartbeat.

    In this type, spasms remain for 3-4 weeks, and the full recovery may take months. “After a few days, the autonomic nervous system will be affected, causing others to feel like fever, sweating, elevated blood pressure and increased or rapid heartbeat.

    Local Tetanus:

    Local tetanus may occur for generalized tetanus, but this is a much milder form with a reduced amount of associated toxin release. Also, local type just attacks the muscles in a specific area of the body. This type is rare, but there is a better prognosis where only about 1% of cases result in death. The presentation of the local type of this disease is muscle stiffness and continuous contractions close to the damage site.

    Cephalic tetanus:

    Cephalic tetanus is also rare and shows a combination of both general and local tetanus. The characteristics of this type of this disease are facial spasms and paralysis due to the involvement of the cranial nerves. Head wounds are the leading cause occasionally occurring in ear infections (otitis media) associated with a head wound. Cephalic can proceed to general tetanus and may be associated with a high mortality rate.

    Neonatal tetanus:

    Neonatal tetanus (which occurs in newborns) is a form of normalised tetanus that also has a high mortality rate. The symptoms present determines the diagnosis. When the baby is born, they can swallow and swallow 2-3 days, and they lose that ability. The symptoms of neonatal are muscle stiffness and spasms occurring approximately 4-14 days after birth.

    The most common way in which neonatal tetanus happens is due to impossible mothers and poor hygiene during the delivery process. Most cases of infected Infants are a result of infection of the umbilical cord’s unobstructed stump, especially when the cord has been cut with immortal instruments. Neonatal tetanus is very common in third world countries.

    Physical Therapy Management

    Cardiopulmonary physiotherapy can be used to help prevent respiratory complications.

    Some patients may need fan support to breathe if their vocal cords or respiratory muscles are affected.

    Physiotherapy can also be used to aid in muscle stiffness and spasms.

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    Saminu Abass Ola who is popularly called ‘Mr. Possible‘ is a young motivational and inspirational speaker and writer, who is also the brain behind this wonderful blog. He is also passionate about Social Marketing. He believes in the abilities of others and tends to bring out the hidden potentials in people’s lives through his motivational articles and words of inspiration.