Tetanus is a nervous system disorder

Tetanus is a nervous system disorder characterised by increased muscle tone and spasm  A.k.a lock jaw  Caused by tetanospasmin ( a powerful protein elaborated by Clostridium tetani) EPIDEMIOLOGY  Incidence has greatly reduced worldwide (more so in the developed countries) since the advent of universal vaccination  Developing countries still have significantly large no.s of tetanus with ~ 1m cases per year. E.g. among pts. admitted for neurological conditions in a nigerian hospital: 50% stroke, 14% tetanus, 12% meningitis Etiologic Agent– Clostridium tetani  Anaerobic, motile, gram positive rod  Has a terminal oval spore giving appearance of a tennis raquet or a drumstick  Found in soil, animal faeces and even human faeces  Spores survive for years and show resistance to disinfectants and boiling for 20 minutes Clostridium tetani ….cont’d  The vegetative cells are however easily inactivated and are susceptible to various antibiotics (flagyl, penicillin) The toxin – tetanospasmin  Formed in vegetative cells  Is a single polypeptide chain that undergoes autolysis to form a hetero dimer consisting of