Tetanus is an acute, often-fatal disease of the nervous system that is caused by nerve toxins produced by the bacteriumClostridium tetani. This bacterium is found throughout the world in the soil and in animal and human intestines.
Contaminated wounds are the sites where tetanus bacteria multiply. Deep wounds or those with devitalized (dead) tissue are particularly prone to tetanus infection.Puncture wounds, such as those caused by nails, splinters, or insect bites, are favorite locations of entry for the bacteria. The bacteria can also be introduced through burns, any break in the skin, and injection-drug sites. Tetanus can also be a hazard to both the mother and newborn child (by means of the uterus after delivery and through the umbilical cord stump).The potent toxin that is produced when the tetanus bacteria multiply is the major cause of harm in this disease.