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Tetanus is a wound infection characterized by a severe course and high mortality. A characteristic symptom of the disease are muscle spasms of the body.

The causative agent of tetanus is Clostridium tetani, a spore-forming bacillus that lives in an anoxic environment.. The wand is capable of releasing toxins: tetanolysin and tetanospasmin are two of the strongest poisons. Tetanus spores are very stable in the external environment and can remain viable for years.

The natural reservoir of tetanus is the soil. Soil contamination is ubiquitous. Chernozems are especially rich in tetanus spores. In addition, the causative agents of tetanus live in the intestines of warm-blooded animals and humans, without causing symptoms of the disease, and are released into the external environment with the contents of the intestine.

Infection with tetanus occurs with deep wounds of the body, when optimal conditions are created for spores to germinate into vegetative, toxin-producing forms. These conditions are: a temperature of about 37 degrees, humidity and lack of air. An additional factor is the presence of concomitant infection in the wound.

Symptoms of the disease:

The incubation period lasts up to a month. After this time, twitching and bursting, dull pains appear at the wound site.

A couple of days after the onset, convulsive contractions of the masticatory muscles develop, it becomes difficult for the patient to open his mouth. A characteristic contraction of facial muscles appears on the face: the eyes are screwed up, the mouth is extended into a line, the corners of the lips are lowered down.

Swallowing is disturbed. The head is thrown back – stiffness of the neck muscles develops. Gradually, painful cramps of the arms, legs and whole body join. During an attack of convulsions, breathing and blood circulation may be disturbed. Impairment of consciousness is characteristic only for the terminal stage of the disease.

Between attacks of convulsions, the muscles do not fully relax, which leads to extreme exhaustion of the patient.

Prevention and treatment:

Planned Prevention tetanus consists in the introduction of adsorbed tetanus toxoid during the scheduled vaccination of children according to the calendar (often as part of the DTP vaccine). The adult population is subject to a tetanus booster every 10 years. For this, the ADS-m vaccine is more often used.

Emergency tetanus prophylaxis should be performed for all severe injuries with violation of the skin and contamination of the wound, with bites, stab and lacerations, extensive burns, frostbite, tissue necrosis.

Non-specific prophylaxis consists in thorough washing of the wound with soapy water or hydrogen peroxide, primary surgical treatment of the wound.

Specific prophylaxis tetanus is called the introduction of tetanus toxoid, tetanus toxoid or human tetanus immunoglobulin.

The scheme of administration is determined in the emergency room, where you need to contact as soon as possible. It is advisable to have information about previous tetanus vaccinations with you.. If there are none, it is advisable to conduct a blood test for immunity tension.

If a person is vaccinated according to the schedule, they have a sufficiently strong immunity against tetanus, and there may not be a need for emergency prophylaxis.

If immunity to tetanus does not have sufficient tension (for example, when vaccinations were carried out, but too much time has passed since the last vaccination), the introduction of tetanus toxoid alone is indicated.

If there is no immunity, and no vaccination against tetanus has been carried out, the victim is given both toxoid and serum or immunoglobulin (preferably).

Treatment of tetanus in the event of the development of signs of the disease must be carried out in a hospital, possibly in intensive care. With the timely provision of qualified medical care, mortality from tetanus is reduced to 10%.

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