How does clostridium tetani cause tetanus? Signs and symptoms


Clostridium tetani is a pathogenic bacteria which causes tetanus. It is a serious infection also called lockjaw. C.tetani, causes of tetanus, its signs and symptoms are given below:

Clostridium Tetani:

Clostridium Tetani is bacillus (rod-shaped bacteria), which survives in an anaerobic environment. It is gram positive bacteria and has genus name clostridium while species is tetani.

It has an appearance similar to drumsticks or rackets like. The bacteria is heat sensitive but it spores are heat resistant. These can remain dormant for many years.

These bacterias are found in dust, soil, animal’s intestine and animal feces including humans.

Being pathogenic (diseases causing), it causes tetanus which is a condition characterized by muscular pain, stiffness and rigidity.

How does Clostridium Tetani cause Tetanus?

It comes from a Greek word tetanus which means to stretch. Clostridium tetani produce some toxic material that affects the nervous system. It then leads to rigidity and stiffness in muscles.

When clostridium tetani deposit on a wound, the toxins interfere with nerves that are responsible for muscles movements.

The infection may cause muscle convulsion and  breathing problems. It can even lead to death.

clostridium tetani causes tetanus

Although the treatment of the infection exists but they are less effective. It is recomendable to prevent the infection for which you can use vaccines.

Tetanus signs and symptoms:

How long does it take to get the infection? It shows symptoms after 7-10 days after the infection. However, it can take more time to develop signs and symptoms. It depends upon the incubation period (the period between the entry of parasite and the appearance of symptoms). The short the incubation period, the more severe symptoms the infection will have.

The initial symptoms may include fever, diarrhea, and headache. The other symptoms are:

  • Muscles stiffness and rigidity
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • blood with feces or stools
  • Sore throat
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heart beat

If the patient is not treated against the infection, it can even be more complicated. So, it will lead to other diseases and now symptoms may include:

  • Suffocation
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney failure
  • Blood poisoning

Tetanus causes:

Clostridium tetani cause tetanus. How does it enter the body ? What are injuries and conditions that can cause the infection? The conditions and their approximate chances of getting the infection are below:

  • Puncture….. approx.36%
  • Laceration…. 25%
  • Chronic wound…11%
  • Abrasion….7%
  • Injection drug user…….4%

Few other causes may include:

  • Skin burning
  • Animal bite
  • Tattoos
  • Circumcision


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