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Tetanus (Lockjaw) is a disease of the nervous system caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria, which enter the body through a break in the skin. Tetanus is not transmitted from person to person.


Early symptoms: lockjaw, stiffness in the neck and abdomen, and difficulty swallowing.

Later symptoms: severe muscle spasms, generalized tonic seizure-like activity, severe autonomic nervous system disorders.


Bone fractures, abnormal heart rhythm. Death in about 10-20% of cases, with the highest rates occurring among older people.


Tetanus toxoid (contained in Tdap, DT, DTaP, and Td vaccines) can prevent this disease. Tetanus toxoid was also contained in DTP (an older version of DTaP); and DTaP is contained in several other combination vaccines, such as Pediarix, Pentacel, Kinrix, and TriHIBit.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA.