Microorganisms are omnipresent. They are present everywhere since they are able to survive in extreme climatic conditions. They have an inherent ability to multiply rapidly hence it becomes difficult to devise a mechanism to destroy these microbes. One such microorganism is the bacteria. Bacteria is a prokaryotic entity that does not possess cell organelles and a structured nucleus but has cell walls. They occur freely in nature under rocks, soil, oceans, mountains and so on.
Bacteria are known to cause fatal diseases. One such disease is Tetanus. Commonly referred to as lockjaw, it is a severe bacterial disease that attacks the nervous system causing extreme contractions of the neck and jaw muscles. It can block your breathing and could be life-threatening. Tetanus is not curable but the complications caused can be managed to an extent.
It is caused by a bacterium named Clostridium tetani, which is made by bacterial spores. It is usually seen in feces of animals, dust, soil etc. Once these spores come in contact with tissues of the body, they develop into bacteria which are capable of producing tetanospasmin(a harmful toxin). This toxic substance damages the motor nerves of the body which results in spasms and stiffness that forms significant signs of the disease.
If one fails to take vaccines against tetanus or an open injury/wound increases the risk of catching this disease. It can also occur through body piercings, tattoos, injecting drugs, compound fractures, burns, dental infections and so on. Once tetanus bonds with the nerve endings, the condition becomes irreversible. New nerve endings need to grow which takes several months.
Stiffness, Spasms. Stiffness begins with the muscles of the jaws. Spasms eventually move to the throat and neck and towards facial muscles. Muscles of the limb and abdomen are affected. It alters the body posture and the muscles of the back are severely affected. It also causes broken bones, pulmonary embolism and death eventually.
If a person has open wounds, he should be administered with tetanus immunoglobulin at the earliest. It contains antibodies that kill the bacteria. Also, metronidazole or penicillin is prescribed as treatment. Some other patients are treated with tetracycline if allergic to other treatments. Diazepam, baclofen etc are given to treat muscle related issues due to tetanus.
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