Tetanus is a condition which includes the contraction of the muscles of the skeleton caused by the deadly bacterium, clostridium tetani. It is generally found to attract wounds and deep cuts.
It affects the nervous system primarily and causes spasm in the muscles. In course of time, humans have developed immunization to the bacteria and the disease is now termed by the WHO as a ‘low risk disease’.
Another characteristic feature of the disease is the locked-jaw condition. The elemental process of contamination by the bacteria is that it enters the wounds of the victim and spreads along the body.
Tetanus, as a disease was a cause of concern to scientists and doctors worldwide during the 40’s. Even today, though it is a rarely occurring disease, it is still advised by most doctors to have an anti- tetanus shot or the Tetanus vaccine.
Tetanus actually means ‘stretch’ in Greek. Tetanus was observed in humans in the past as well. First sign of tetanus was found as early 1884. Tetanus is often considered as a bacterium which often rests on rust, but the fact is that the surface roughness of the rusted metal surface provides for a perfect habitat to the bacterium. Tetanus once diagnosed, is a very slow treatment process.
The bacterium releases poisonous toxic concoctions or toxins into the bloodstream of the victim and is responsible for the spasms in the muscular system, causing severe pain. The locked jaw condition is also a result of contracting nerves leading to the jaw, which forms the lower part of the skull.
The bacterium present in the form of spores is capable of remaining perfectly inactive in alien conditions. Entry of the bacterium into the body is almost immediately accompanied by severe head ache.
Like most of the other bacterial diseases, tetanus also spreads in stages first attacking the jaw muscles, then the arm, neck and stomach muscles. Patients with severe cases of tetanus obtain a peculiar curved body structure due to the contraction of the muscles.
It is a wrong notion that people affected with tetanus eventually die. Today with the advancement of medicine science, treatment of tetanus is possible. Only around 33% of people suffering from acute tetanus die as a result of it. Survival of the disease is a slow and painful process. Even after disappearance of the stretch or spasm marks the patient suffers from stiffness and body weakness.
Tetanus is common in almost all the countries across the world. The most commonly found cases of tetanus though are in the developing countries, where most people cannot afford to immunize themselves of the disease, by using the vaccine.
Even immunization of the bacterium does not guarantee complete disappearance of the disease from the ecosystem. The bacteria keep evolving and finds different habitat and adapts to different conditions, physically and atmospherically.
Tetanus can thus, be classified as a bacterial disease which is fatal when in acute condition, mainly attacking the nervous and muscular systems of the human body, developing spasms and convolutions across the patient’s body.