El tétanos es una enfermedad de origen bacteriano y causada por la bacteria Clostridium tetani. Esta es una de las enfermedades más devastadoras relacionadas con las bacterias. Los síntomas son severos y hay un espasmo en el cuerpo tan fuerte que puede romper la columna vertebral o los huesos. La toxina liberada por esta bacteria, en muchos casos, si no se trata, resulta fatal. Los otros síntomas están asociados con el espasmo, como asfixia o dificultad para respirar. Lo importante para esta bacteria es que está en todas partes, es decir, está presente en todo el mundo y no es específica de la geografía. Cualquier exposición de la herida a esta bacteria puede iniciar los síntomas característicos. El período de incubación puede ser de 3-21 días. Además, esta es también una enfermedad no transmisible, ya que no pasará de una persona a otra. La tasa de mortalidad es alta e incluso mayor en el tétanos neonatal.
The tetanus toxoid injection should be administered in the body as soon as possible. However, the administration of the injection depends upon the variety of factors. Following are the factors influencing the tetanus injection administration:
- Past Immunization: The tetanus toxoid is not required if the last immunization was done not more than 5 years ago in the form of booster dose.
- Status of the Wound: Although not to take chances and rush for immunization as soon as you got the wound, the status of the wound also plays a major role in defining what type of immunization you require. If the wound is clean and minor, then only the tetanus toxoid is needed. However, if the wound is dirty and the major part is exposed, then along with the tetanus toxoid, tetanus immunoglobulin is also administered to provide immediate immunity.
As the incubation period clostridium tetani is 3-21 days, it is important to take a shot of immunization within 48 hours so as to provide the tetanus toxoid to work against clostridium, in case patient gets infected.
Cause of Tetanus
The spasm and occurrence of rigidity in the muscles are caused by a toxin which is release by Clostridium tetani. This toxin is known as tetanospasmin. The toxins are produced by the bacterium in anerobic conditions. These toxins are distributed in the body with the help of blood and lymph. This toxin affects the nervous system of the body and is responsible for spasm and muscular rigidity. The tetanus toxin reaches in to the nerve terminals that activate voluntary muscles. It further reaches to spinal cord or brain stem. The nervous system generally works by the release of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that take the information to and from the nerve cells. Once the process of this information is interrupted, the whole system degrades and there would be no flow of information. The toxins secreted by the Clostridium tetani exactly do this to the nervous system. The toxin targets a section of the nerve that regulates the release of neurotransmitters and interferes with the release of neurotransmitters. In the absence of any information, there is a spasm in the muscle and the body becomes rigid. The treatment for this can be prophylaxis, exposure prophylaxis and symptomatic treatment. The drugs used are tetanus toxoid vaccine; Diazepam, metronidazole and sometimes surgical intervention may be required.
Although preventable with the current immunization techniques, the people failed to adhere to guidelines and get contracted to this scary tetanus disease with horrible symptoms and high mortality rate. However, as soon as the person gets injury, he should, as soon as possible, go to the physician and get administered a tetanus toxoid, most probably within 48 hours of the injury. This will help in the immediate protection from the bacteria as well will also protect in future, at least for few years.