Infectious diseases

Tetanus

Tetanus – an acute infectious disease in which the poisoning of the central nervous system (CNS) is due to the poison of tetanus bacteria, which causes spasms of various muscle groups. Tetanus kills about 1 million people each year in the world. In Europe, tetanus annually affects about 70 people, and every second of them dies.

Symptoms

  • Fatigue, exhaustion.
  • Anxiety.
  • Headaches and back pain.
  • Spasm of the masticatory muscles.
  • Twitching of facial muscles
  • Stiff neck, back and abdomen.
  • Seizures, which is caused by even a mild irritant.
  • High temperature.

Causes

Tetanus is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. These bacteria are found in the intestines of most mammals, entered the environment with the faeces. Tetanus bacillus spores remain viable for a long time in contact with the soil. The disease occurs when the penetration of tetanus bacilli in the body through a variety of injuries. From an infected wound poison on nerve pathways in the spinal cord enters. Once it reaches the nerve cells, the antidote does not exist. Poison in neurons can be reached from the lymph or blood. There is no symptoms indicating the possibility of early tetanus. The incubation period – from 6 to 14 days.

Treatment

The patient is hospitalized and prescribed drugs: sedatives, anticonvulsants, antipyretics and antibiotics. Tetanus toxoid or immunoglobulin is prescribed to the patient, sometimes doctors use blood transfusions, mechanical ventilation.

Self-treatment tetanus is impossible.

If there is no vaccine against tetanus, then, for any damage or injury related to the agricultural activities, the patient should see a doctor.

Doctor will insert tetanus serum or immunoglobulin. Before the onset of the disease, even the doctor can not say for sure whether there was contamination.

Course of the disease

The incubation period can last from several days to several weeks. The first symptoms of tetanus: exhaustion, fatigue, anxiety, headaches and back pain. Especially characteristic of the chewing muscles spasms – so-called trismus. The patient can not open his mouth, had difficulty speaking and swallowing. Due to muscle tension and twitching face changes – it seems that a person is crying or laughing (so called “sardonic smile”). Muscles become rigid neck and back. Even the weak stimuli (light, sound, touch) cause convulsive seizures. Death may occur as a result of suffocation or heart failure due to lack of oxygen.

Prophylaxis against tetanus

Protection against tetanus is vaccination. Breastfed babies are vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus already in the third month of life (shots are repeated three times every six weeks). Child is made the second vaccination at the 6th and 10th year of life. People in certain professions (eg, farmers, foresters, and soldiers) are vaccinated for prevention.

Tetanus does not have virtually side-effects. If you are going on a trip, you should be vaccinated.