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Tetanus is a toxin-producing bacterial disease which causes painful muscle spasms.[1] Tetanus is caused by the bactium Clostridium Tetani, which enters through wounds and creating contraction of the fibers in the skeletal muscles. Tetanus is also called as Lockjaw, which is actually a symptom of the disease.

Tetanus is one of the diseases for which the DPT vaccine is intended to provid protection. Unlike other vaccines, DPT doesn't vaccinate against the actual virus, but instead the toxin which Tetanus produces. Tetanus toxin is otherwise called Tetanospasmin.

Tetanus can be diagnosed by early symptoms like:[2]

  1. Muscular spasms could also be witnessed in different parts of the body.
  2. The muscles in the throat region are also affected.
  3. Pain and discomfort in the abdominal muscles too.
  4. Headache or a sore throat.
  5. The affected person may be extremely sensitive to touch.
  6. Diarrhea.

Among the various parts of the body that are affected by this toxin, the muscles in the jaw are affected severely. At full onset, one of the primary symptoms of Lockjaw is the series of spasms caused by Tetanospasmin, the toxin that is produced by this bacteria. These spasms affect the ‘chewing muscles’ in the jaw, which makes it difficult to move the mouth in terms of either opening or closing.
As the disease progresses, another symptom which may be seen is bleeding of the bowels.


  1. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/about/terms/glossary.htm#t
  2. http://www.lockjawsymptoms.net