Tetanus is a bacterial infection which occurs when a puncture wound becomes contaminated. The bacteria that can cause tetanus are mainly found in soil, house dust and animal & human waste such as manure. Once entered into the body via a wound or serious burn the bacteria multiplies and produces a neurotoxin which disrupts the body’s nervous system.
Countries at risk The bacteria can be found worldwide however a majority of tetanus cases occurs in countries where there is not a suitable vaccination programme such as China, India, Africa and in certain South American countries.
Tetanus is commonly associated with rusty nails and although there are many ways for the bacteria to enter your body this is the most common as nails provide the perfect entry point for the bacteria into the body. Make sure to receive urgent medical attention if you are involved in any injuries or accidents while travelling.
The symptoms of tetanus can take up to 3 weeks to develop. The earliest symptom is a stiffness of muscles in the jaw (lockjaw) which then spreads to the neck and other limbs and cause cause other problems such as swallowing.
The childhood vaccination programmes includes a vaccine against Diphtheria, Tetanus & Polio. Once the childhood course is completed travelers need a booster every 10 years when planning on travel to higher risk areas.
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