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 can threaten your life. Tetanus is commonly known as "lockjaw."

Thanks to the tetanus vaccine, cases of tetanus are rare in the United States and other parts of the developed world. However, the disease remains a threat to those who aren't up to date on their vaccinations, and is more common in developing countries.

There's no cure for tetanus. Treatment focuses on managing complications until the effects of the tetanus toxin resolve.

April 20, 2016
  1. Sexton DJ. Tetanus. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 8, 2016.
  2. Baddour LM, et al. Infectious complications of puncture wounds. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 8, 2016.
  3. Tetanus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/tetanus/about/index.html. Accessed Feb. 8, 2016.
  4. Tetanus. Vaccines.gov. http://www.vaccines.gov/diseases/tetanus/. Accessed Feb. 8, 2016.
  5. Lacerations. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/lacerations/lacerations?qt=cuts%20and%20scrapes&sc=&alt=sh. Accessed Feb. 8, 2016.