Last updated:09-05-2008
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Definition and reason

Tetanus, tetanus, caused by infection with the bacterium Clostridium tetani. Vaccine against tetanus has since 1949 been part of the Danish børnevaccinations program , And the disease is now extremely rare in this country. In poorer countries, the disease is still widespread.

Bakterien penetrates into the body through wounds on the skin and creates here a poison, tetanospasmin. Giftstoffet transported via nerves to the spinal cord and brain, where there is an overstimulation of the muskelstyrende nerves. This gives convulsions.

Bakterien found in soil and kreaturgødning, and occurs worldwide. It forms the so-called spores, which are inactive bacteria, which is very resistant to heat and drying. These can remain in the soil for several years. If the spores a moist and nutritious environment. the body develops the back of active bacteria, and you become ill.
Clostridium tetani is a so-called anaerobic bacteria, and thrives best where there is no oxygen, for example. in the dead tissue in a wound.

Symptoms of tetanus

The first symptoms of tetanus is shown by stiffness in tyggemuskulaturen, then withdrawn stomach, back, arms and benmuskulaturen. If vejrtrækningsmusklerne hit the disease quickly become life-threatening. Some will experience to have fever, but it is not all.

Other parts of the body can be hit, and you can get - heart rhythm disturbances , Fluctuating blood pressure and strong sweating.


The diagnosis made on the typical sygdomsbillede. From Monday to be infected, to develop the disease, which goes around. 10 days. At this time is injured, there has been a gateway for the infection, typically healed. Since there also are many less rare diseases, which can give the symptoms that are similar to starting tetanus, it is important that the physician rule out these first.

Consideration of tetanus

Consideration of tetanus is a specialist task. There are treated with tetanus antitoxin (antidotes) and given muscle relaxants drugs against kramperne and antibiotics in the hope of eliminating the bacterium. It will often be necessary to place the patient on a respirator in the period.

It is important that the patient is given absolute calm, because even the slightest touch, sound or light can cause life-threatening convulsions in the musculature around struben which can lead to suffocation.

Select and complications

Krampeperioden spread over 1-2 weeks, and before all the symptoms are completely gone, is there still a few weeks. In severe cases it can stretch over months.

The outlook depends on the age, health before illness and disease severity. Slightly cases of tetanus makes no injury.

The main complication is choking because of cramps in vejrtrækningsmuskler and throat, and despite treatment in intensive care, the mortality rate for tetanus 10-15%.

The prevention of tetanus

Key prevention is intact stivkrampevaccination. Vaccination cover in some. 10 years. Get wounds that are infected with the land, it is important to clean up this thoroughly, and come Monday at skadestuen with a wound, you get an automatic stivkrampevaccination if you are not covered. If you take abroad for a long time, it is important to have an intact tetanus vaccination.






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