by AK Team
Tetanus is another type of bacterial disease that affects the nervous system of the infected person and causes some sort of neurological disorders and this type of bacterial infection also causes the voluntary (skeletal) muscles of the body to contract due to this neurological disorder that is caused in the person.
This muscular contraction of the voluntary muscles that is caused in the infected person who is infected by this type of bacterial disease is also known as lockjaw and hence this disease is also known as lockjaw disease.
The causative agent of this type of bacterial infection is a bacteria of Clostridium family. The name of the bacteria is Clostridium tetani.
Tetanus affects the nervous system of the infected person when the bacteria that causes this type of bacterial infection releases a toxin (poison). This toxin that is also known as exotoxin is highly responsible for affecting the nervous system of the infected person and also for the muscle contraction f the voluntary or skeletal muscles.
Tetanus is a kind of bacterial infection that is very common in developing countries like India, etc. and it is very rare or very uncommon in western countries like the United States and several other already developed countries.
If tetanus is left untreated for a longer period of time, then it may be life – threatening as well and may cause various serious complications in the infected person’s body.
As such there are no specific treatments that are available for this type of bacterial infection, however the DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus) vaccine that is available is for the prevention of such type of bacterial disorder and not for its treatment. The treatment for ths type of bacterial infection contains medication for releaving the pain and symptoms of the diseases through which the bacterial disease can be cured eventually.
TYPES OF TETANUS
The type of tetanus means the location at which this type of bacterial infection is caused. Basically based in the clinical features of the disease there are 4 main types of tetanus that occur in the infected person. The 4 main types of this bacterial disease are listed below :
- Neonatal tetanus
Neonatal tetanus is also known as trismus nascentium. This type of bacterial infection is basically a type of generalized tetanus that occurs in neonates, that is that occurs in newborns. The newborns those who have not acquired a passive immunity from immunized mother are at a higher risk of getting it.
- Generalized tetanus
The most common type of tetanus that occurs in most of the individuals is this generalized tetanus. This type of bacterial disease occurs in almost about 80 % of people.
- Localized tetanus
This is another type of very common yet a very unusual form of this type of bacterial infection. In this form of the bacterial disease muscle spasms occur in a confined area that is present very close to the site where the injury is caused.
- Cerebral tetanus
This form of this type of bacterial infection is also known as cephalic tetanus. This form of this bacterial disease is limited to the muscles and nerves that are present in the head itself. Usually this form of the bacterial disease occurs after a head trauma such as skull fracture , eye injury, etc.
PATHOPHYSIOLOGY OF TETANUS
- The bacteria (Clostridium tetani) enters the body and eventually to the nervous system through any wound or injury that is caused in any part of the body.
- The neurotoxin named TeNT binds specifically to the presynaptic membrane that is present in the neuromuscular junction.
- Now this neurotoxin (TeNT) is internalized and is transported back through the axon until this neurotoxin reaches the central nervous system.
- Here in the central nervous system, this neurotoxin binds and is transported to inhibitory neuron via the endocytes.
- The toxin of tetanus specifically blocks the release of the neurotransmitters that are known as GABA and glycine from the inhibitory neurons.
- Now these neurotransmitters, that is GABA and glycine keep the over – reactive motor neurons from firing and also play a role in the relaxation of muscles after their contraction.
- When these inhibitory neurons are not able to release their neurotransmitters due to some or the other reasons, the motor neurons that are present fire out of control and muscles have a difficulty at the time of relaxation.
- Now this situation causes the muscle spasma and the spastic paralysis that can be seen as the major symptom of tetatus infection.
- The tetanus toxin that causes all of this contraction of muscles is called tetanospasmin
- This tetanospasmin is made up of a heavy chain and a light chain.
- There are basically four main steps in the tetanus’s mechanism of the action
- The four mechanism of the tetanus includes the following steps : binding to the neuron, internalization of the toxin, membrane translocation and the cleavage of the target VAMP.
SYMPTOMS OF TETANUS
The symptoms that an infected person experiences when infected this type of bacterial infection entirely depends on the type and stage of the disease. The most common types of symptoms that a person experiences when he or she is infected by this type of disease are listed below :
- Jaw cramping
- Sudden and involuntary muscle tightening in the stomach (muscle spasms of the stomach)
- Painful body
- Painful stiffness of the muscle that is present all over the body
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Jerking (seizures)
- Extreme sweating
- Night chills
- Changes in blood pressure
- Increased rate of heart
- Difficulty in breathing
- Rigid muscles of the abdomen
CAUSES OF TETANUS
The main cause of this type of bacterial infection is the bacteria Clostridium tetani. Some other causes and reasons that might lead to this type of bacterial infection eventually are listed below :
- Patients having diabetes and skin lesions as well
- Wounds that are exposed to soil
- History of immune – suppressing medical conditions
- Infected umbilical cord when the mother is not vaccinated completely
- Shared unsanitary needles or any other products
DIAGNOSIS OF TETANUS
There are various diagnostic tests that are available for the diagnosis of this type of bacterial infection. Some of the diagnostic tests that a person might consider to undergo when he or she is suspected to have this type of bacterial infection are listed below :
- Physical examination
- Medical history
- Vaccination history
- Signs and symptoms of the muscle spasms
- Blood test