Filed under: Infectious Diseases
Tetanus is a serious bacterial disease that affects your nervous system, leading to painful muscle contractions, particularly of your jaw and neck muscles. Tetanus can interfere with your ability to breathe and, ultimately, threaten your life. Tetanus is commonly known as "lockjaw."
Thanks to the tetanus vaccine, cases of tetanus are rare in the United States and the developed world. The incidence of tetanus is much higher in less-developed countries. Around a million cases occur worldwide each year.
Tetanus can be treated, but not always effectively. Fatality is highest in individuals who haven't been immunized and in older adults with inadequate immunization — wherever they may live. In countries with low vaccine rates, infants also are at high risk of severe illness and death.
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