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Tetanus

What is tetanus?
What are the symptoms of tetanus?
How is tetanus spread?
How can I keep from getting tetanus?
If I’ve been exposed to tetanus, how long will it take for symptoms to develop?
What treatments are available for tetanus? How serious is the disease?
How many cases of tetanus have been reported in Northern Kentucky?
Where can I get more information on tetanus?

What is tetanus?
Tetanus is a disease of the nervous system caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria.

What are the symptoms of tetanus?

How is tetanus spread?
The bacteria that cause tetanus can be found in the soil. If a person’s skin is punctured, perhaps through a cut or scrape, the tetanus bacteria can enter the body and cause infection.
 
Tetanus is not spread from person-to-person.

How can I keep from getting tetanus?

If I’ve been exposed to tetanus, how long will it take for symptoms to develop?Nails
The initial symptoms of tetanus typically occur eight days after exposure, but can occur between three and 21 days.

The tetanus vaccine should provide protection to those who have been vaccinated within the last 10 years, even if the person was exposed to the tetanus bacteria; however, it’s a good idea to contact a health care provider. If you aren’t sure when you were vaccinated, contact a health care provider immediately—don’t wait for symptoms to develop.  

What treatments are available for tetanus? How serious is the disease?
Since there's no cure for tetanus, treatment consists of wound care, medications to ease symptoms and supportive care.

As many as 1 in 5 people affected with tetanus dies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How many cases of tetanus have been reported in Northern Kentucky?
Tetanus is rare in the United States, where 50 or fewer cases of tetanus occur each year. No cases of tetanus have been reported in Northern Kentucky in recent years.  

Where can I get more information on tetanus?
For more information online, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or you can call the Health Department at 859.363.2070.

Sources: Northern Kentucky Health Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Minnesota Department of Health; KidsHealth.org