Tetanus (Locked Jaw)


About Tetanus (Locked Jaw)

What is Tetanus?

Tetanus (locked jaw) is a serious disease that causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to “locking” of the jaw so the victim cannot open his mouth or swallow.

How is Tetanus transmitted?

Infection generally occurs through wound contamination by spores of Clostridium tetani and often involves a cut or deep puncture wound. Tetanus is not transmitted from person to person.

Why should I take the Tetanus vaccination?

Death occurs in about 10-20% of Tetanus cases, with the highest rates occurring among older people. Tetanus can be prevented by vaccination. We recommend vaccination to anyone who has not taken it.

Points to Note:

Laboratory diagnostic tests are not perfect and are not 100% accurate

  • We do not have a test for every disease or virus but most of those pathogens that are of public health importance or have long term implications on your health can be tested
  • No one single test can be used with absolute certainty to diagnose a disease. Often, we depend on a combination of tests to make a diagnosis
  • Sometimes, we have to resort to trial treatment or empiric treatment if investigative tests are inconclusive. If the patient makes a therapeutic response and feels better, we have achieved our goal
  • In PUO, we are looking for treatable causes and to rule out sinister causes eg. malignancies so that we do not miss opportunities for early treatment or intervention

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