The pic is nt a pretty sight, is it?? It is a painting by Charles Bell depicting a soldier dying of tetanus.
Tentanus is a disease caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani. The bacteria enter the body through various puncture wounds.. for eg.. when you cut yourself with a sharp unsterilised instrument, the feared rusty nail.. and in the case of this soldier, probably from a bloody sword..
When an unsterilised instrument is used to cut the umbilical cord of a newborn baby, and if the mother is not immunised, the chances of the baby getting tetanus is high.
The bacteria enter the body and produce a toxin which acts on the body's central nervous system and causes intense muscle spasm. From the time the bacteria enter the body to the the time symptoms are seen may vary from a week to months.
Symptoms include :
1.Inability to open and close the mouth.
2. Stiffness in the neck
3. Stiffness of the facial muscles
4. Muscle spasms lasting several minutes.
Tetanus is a disease that can be prevented. The tetanus toxoid vaccine is administered and a booster dose is administered every ten years.
After an injury, if your immune status is not known, it is advsable to get an injection of tetanus toxoid.
The following is the national immunisation schedule in India. The "T in DPT" indicates tetanus vaccine.