Overview of Tetanus

Tetanus Meaning in Urdu

یہ ایک بیکٹیریل انفیکشن ہے جو کہ بیکٹیریا کے جسم میں داخل ہونے کی وجہ سے لاحق ہوتی ہے۔ جب یہ بیکٹیریا جسم میں داخل ہوتے ہیں تو ایسے ٹاکسنز پیدا کرتے ہیں جو پٹھوں اور اعصابی نظام کو متاثر کرتے ہیں۔ اس کے علاوہ یہ جبڑوں اور گردن کو بھی متاثر کر سکتے ہیں۔ اس بیماری کی عام علامات میں پٹھوں کا درد اور کھنچاؤ، گردن اور پیٹ کے پٹھوں کے مسائل لاحق ہوتے ہیں۔ اس بیکٹیریل انفیکشن کا تاحال کوئی علاج دریافت نہیں ہو سکا ہے، تاہم اس سے بچاؤ کے لیے ادویات استعمال کی جاتی ہیں۔


Tetanus meaning in Urdu (کزاز). It is a serious preventable disease caused by a bacterial toxin named Clostridium tetani. The powerful bacteria affect the nervous system which leads to painful muscle contractions mainly in the jaws and neck. Difficulty in breathing is a sign of a life-threatening condition in people. It is also referred to as Lockjaw. 

Once the bacteria enters the body through different breaks, wounds, or cuts of the skin can spread to other parts of the body to cause tetanus. 

Currently, due to the quick availability of the vaccine, it is considered a rare disease in the world's population. It is only reported in those countries which don't have strong immunization programs.

Prevalence of Tetanus

Tetanus was nationally reportable in 1947 when the cases were at their peak. After the introduction of an effective vaccine for tetanus, it declined to 11% today in the world's population. It is more likely to be present in those people who didn't receive a tetanus vaccine or adults who didn't receive up-to-date 10-year booster shots.

According to the researchers, 1 in 38000 people died from tetanus in 2017 globally.

Signs and Symptoms of Tetanus

Tetanus symptoms usually begin to appear within a week after being infected. But the infection remains from 3 days to 3 weeks or even longer.

 Other symptoms of tetanus may include:

  • Headache
  • Muscle stiffness (from jaw to abdomen area)
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Sweating and fever
  • Palpitations and high blood pressure
  • Muscle spasms in the face 

It may cause suffocation and death if it is not treated on time.

Types of Tetanus

Causes of Tetanus

Tetanus is an infection caused by the spores of Clostridium tetani bacteria. The bacteria are present everywhere in the environment including soil, dust, and manure. Once the spores enter the body, they change into bacteria to cause infection.

Some common causes of tetanus in most people are listed below:

  • Most women who do foot massaging with sharp objects are more prone to have tetanus. These bacteria are also present in the environment and enter the body through breaks in the skin.
  • An open wound contaminated with dirt, faeces, or spit (saliva)
  • Puncture wounds occur due to pointed edges like a nail or needle
  • Burns
  • Injuries with dead tissue
  • Surgical procedures
  • Insect bites
  • Dental infections
  • Compound fractures (a break in the bone where it is exposed)
  • Chronic sores and infections
  • Intravenous (IV) drug use
  • Intramuscular injections (shots given in a muscle)

Risk Factors of Tetanus

Certain factors are more likely to cause tetanus in people:

  • When the vaccination process is not completed on time or not giving up to date booster shots against tetanus
  • A person having an injury that changes tetanus spores into the wound
  • A foreign body, such as a nail or splinter

Health Complications of Tetanus

Once the person is vaccinated, the tetanus toxin is attached to the nerve endings for its recovery. A complete recovery has been done for the growth of new nerve endings, which may take up to several months. If the person is not recovered completely then complications of tetanus infection may arise including

  • Broken bones, anywhere in the body especially in the spine areas.
  • Blockage of a lung artery (pulmonary embolism) by the formation of blood clots. 
  • Death may also occur due to multiple diseases like respiratory failure, pneumonia etc.



The only way to protect yourself from tetanus is to get yourself vaccinated. Getting vaccinated alone isn’t enough and you need to stay updated when it comes to vaccination as immunity acquired via vaccination isn’t for a lifetime.



Diagnosis of tetanus depends on the physical examination, medical and immunization history and the signs of muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. There are no laboratory tests specified for diagnosing tetanus

Treatment of Tetanus | When to Consult a Doctor

Before giving the medications, the primary way to treat tetanus is that a person who has been vaccinated since childhood. This creates the initial tolerance in the body to fight against tetanus. These vaccines are provided at four different stages that are mentioned below:

Types of Tetanus Vaccine

Normally, tetanus shots are injected in the shoulder muscle of the people, but children will receive it in the arm or thigh. There are four different types of vaccine that protect against tetanus and other diseases. It depends on the age and vaccine status and varies in different conditions.

  • DTaP is used for babies and young children to help protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough).
  • DT is for those babies and young children with allergic reactions to the whooping cough vaccine. It only protects against diphtheria and tetanus. 
  • Tdap is for older children and adults. It protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
  • It acts as a booster shot for older children and adults. These shots help to protect against diphtheria and tetanus.

Booster: A booster of the tetanus vaccine is a combination of tetanus shots with the diphtheria vaccine. This vaccine combination was approved for teens and adults under the age of 65 to fight against pertussis.

Further Treatment of tetanus consists of wound care and medications to relieve symptoms and provide supportive care. In reality, there is no cure for tetanus. 

Wound Care

It is helpful to clean the wound and prevent tetanus spores from entering the body.


  • Antibiotics: A general physician may prescribe antibiotics, either orally or by injection, to kill tetanus bacteria.

  • Sedatives: It helps to control muscle spasms such as morphine.

  • Other Medications: Like magnesium sulfate and certain beta-blockers, might be used to regulate involuntary muscle activity. 

Supportive Therapies

If a person has chronic tetanus infection may provide intensive care settings such as helps to inhibit breathing through a ventilator.

In case you exhibit any concerning signs and symptoms of tetanus, consult a medical professional as soon as possible.