Topics: Tetanus, Clostridium tetani, Mortality rate Pages: 3 (1019 words) Published: March 16, 2013
Tetanus is a disease that is now considered rare in developed countries such as the United States, however it is still an issue in underdeveloped countries. Clostridium tetani is the obligate anaerobic gram positive endospore that is responsible for the disease tetanus. Clostridium tetani spores are ubiquitous. They can be found in soil, animal feces and manure. Clostridium tetani spores can tolerate temperature of more than 100 degrees Celsius. Tetanus is the only disease that is vaccine preventable and its infection is not contagious (Walker). Tetanus occurs when Clostridium tetani spores enter the body through a break in the skin. When placed in anaerobic, a condition which is the absence of oxygen, the spores will be in their desired environment which is in deep or puncture wounds. Beside wounds, tetanus is also associated with the injection of infected street drugs, such as heroin (Walker). The spores germinate and produce an endotoxin called tetanospasmin, which is spread throughout the body by the bloodstream and lymph system. The incubation period for tetanus is, in average, eight to ten days. The infection tends to worsen because the wound may seem insignificant to the victim. Severity of illness is related to the amount of infected dose absorbed by the body. Recovery from tetanus disease does not confer immunity from future infection like someone would become immune to chicken pox after an infection (Thomas). To some extent, Clostridium tetani or tetanus is preventable through a series of vaccinations with the tetanus toxoid. Patients are encouraged to complete the vaccination series and to maintain immunity with a booster that is to be administered every 10 years after the first series is complete (Parker). Whether a patient needs tetanus toxoid after an injury, with or without tetanus immune globulin, is determined on a case by case basis if the patient is up to date with their immunization. For that reason a diphtheria toxoid is given with...
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