First described by Hippocrates, tetanus is a disease caused by Clostridium tetani, an organism that only flourishes in dead tissue and produces an exotoxin which passes to the central nervous system (1).
- the toxin targets anterior horn cells and once fixed, it cannot be neutralized by antitoxin
The infection does not transmit from person to person and there is no herd immunity (3)
Tetanus is a notifiable disease in UK (2).
- (1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. The Pink Book 2011. Chapter 20: Tetanus
- (2) Health Protection Agency (HPA) 2011. List of notifiable diseases
- (3) Department of Health (DH). Immunisation against infectious disease. 'The Green Book' 2019 updated edition
Last edited 11/2019