What is tetanus?
Tetanus is an acute, sometimes fatal, disease of the central nervous system, caused by the toxin of the tetanus bacterium, which usually enters the body through an open wound. The tetanus bacteria live in soil and manure, but also can be found in the human intestine and other places.
- Tetanus occurs more often in warmer climates or during the warmer months.
- Tetanus is very uncommon in the US due to widespread immunization. Fewer than 60 cases every year occur in the United States.
How Boston Children's Hospital approaches tetanus
Children's focuses on disease prevention and advocates that the Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTAP) vaccine, which includes tetanus, is routinely given to all children (the other two diseases included are diphtheria and pertussis). Booster immunization shots are needed every 10 years.