What is it?
It is a severe infection caused by the toxin of a bacterium called clostridium that enters the organism through skin lesions such as wounds, scratches, animal bites. Tetanus is not a contagious disease.
How does one acquire it?
The bacterium is found in the feces of animals, or humans, deposited in the sand or soil. The infection happens by the entrance of the bacteria through any kind of wound in the skin contaminated with sand or soil. Burns and dead tissues are also gateways for the entrance of the bacterium.
How does one feel?
The toxin of the bacteria causes muscular spasms, initially in the muscles of the neck and mastication (trismus and sardonic smile ), causing progressive stiffness, until it reaches the respiratory muscles. The complications are severe and the infected person needs to be admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
The length of the incubation period varies from 2 to 21 days; the shorter the number of days, the greater the severity.
How is it diagnosed? From clinical symptoms and history of skin wounds without adequate treatment.
How do we treat it?
The treatment consists in:
Caution not to stimulate the patient, keeping him/her in a dark room and little noise, The use of antibiotics, sedation and muscle relaxing drugs, The cleansing of the wounds, and Administration of the antitoxin
How to prevent it?
Prevention is done principally through routine vaccination of the population, and booster every 10 years.
The population must also be informed that every dirty wound, open fractures, animal bites and burns should be kept well-cleaned and adequately treated in order to avoid bacterial proliferation throughout the organism.