Tetanus (marked flexor muscle spasms and autonomic dysfunction) is caused by a toxin secreting clostridium, clostridium tetani.  C. tetani is a gram positive obligate anaerobe, which means it dies in the presence of oxygen.


C. tetani is not directly responsible for the flexor muscle spasm’s and autonomic dysfunction associated with tetanus but more so the neurotoxin that c. tetani produces, tetanospasmin


Tetanospasmin inhibits gabba and glycine neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating neuronal activity i.e. action potentials.   They are essential in inhibiting muscle excitation. Without these neurotransmitters the muscle is constantly exited (spasming) causing tetanus symptoms i.e. lock jaw, flexor muscle stiffness, and autonomic dysfunction.  


Rust itself does not cause tetanus, more so the conditions that rust form in (i.e.

anaerobic environment) that are favourable to c. tetani  



Treatment can be in the form of metronidazole or if not available penicillin can be used.  Immunisation is the best prevention which can be in the form of human anti-tetanospasmin immunoglobulin or tetanus immune globulin







Kumar and Clark


~ by pcl4 on October 9, 2008.

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