Neuroinfections is a pathological condition in which affects the brain. Their peculiarity is that each disease of this group has a specific pathogen. One of such diseases is tetanus. This disease is extremely dangerous, as in most cases leads to death. Signs of tetanus should be known to everyone, especially to people working in agriculture. This information will help to identify the disease and take action to combat infection.

The first signs of tetanus in humans

What is tetanus?

The tetanus refers to a group of neuroinfections. This disease can infect not only man but all warm-blooded animals. So the infection is zooantroponoses. Most often, the signs of tetanus are found in rural areas. This is because the pathogen may be a long time to be in the soil. The disease is not transmitted by ordinary contact with a carrier of the bacteria. For a person to be infected, must the ingress of the pathogen on the wound surface. The danger is not only serious injuries and animal bites, but ordinary scratches on the skin or mucous membranes. In addition, bacteria can enter the body by penetrating wounds of the eye. Signs of tetanus in humans described by Hippocrates. Already in ancient times, this pathology was associated with wounds and injuries. However, to learn about the causative agent of tetanus, the scientists were able only in the 19th century. In the same century, managed to obtain the antidote from the disease. Tetanus serum has been used until now. Thanks to this invention saved millions of people.

The cause of the problem

The incidence of tetanus is directly linked to the pathogen – a bacterium Clostridium tetani. This gram-positive Bacillus, which, when ingested the body releases a potent exotoxin. The bacterium refers to anaerobic, which explains its presence in the soil. She prefers cold temperatures, so when heated, forms spores that are very resistant in the environment. Signs of tetanus in humans is most often seen in autumn and summer. At this time, the people most in contact with the soil. The spores remain in the ground for many years, regardless of the ambient temperature. Despite its dangers, the causative agent of tetanus refers to conditional-pathogenic microflora. Normal the bacteria present in the intestine of healthy people.

The mechanism of development

Pathogenesis of tetanus infection starts with the penetration of the pathogen into the human body. Disputes, which had long been in a "sleep" state, aktiviziruyutsya in a suitable for life environment. Especially quickly the disease develops when the penetration of infection through deep puncture or cut wounds. This is because the germ is immediately transferred to anaerobic conditions. Once in a favorable environment, bacteria begins to multiply rapidly. After that there is the elaboration of tetanus toxin. The chemical enters the small motor fibers nerves that are located on the entire surface of the human body. Next, the toxin enters the bloodstream, reaches the brain and spinal cord. There he is wedged in intercalated neurons, thereby disrupting the motor function of muscle tissue. This is due to tetanospasmin – substances included in the composition of the toxin. Under its influence, there are specific signs of tetanus – tonic convulsions. Another toxic substance secreted by bacteria, is tetanolysin. Because it is the destruction of red blood cells. In addition, it has a toxic effect on the heart muscle, causing tissue necrosis.

Tetanus: symptoms in adults

Of infection do not occur immediately. The first sign of tetanus, the patient can be observed through 7-8 days after infection. In some cases, the incubation period is prolonged to one month and even more. The first signs of tetanus in adults emerge gradually. At first it may not be strongly expressed muscle pain. Then there is a characteristic disease symptom – lockjaw chewing muscles. It is manifested by severe muscle tension of the mouth, causing teeth and lips tightly closed. We can assume that this is the first symptom of tetanus. because the symptoms that appear earlier, are marked not all patients and are not specific for this pathology. Another hallmark of the disease is considered to be sardonic smile. It means that the patient's lips pulled wide, but the corners of the mouth pointing down. As a result, the patient's face represents laughter and sadness simultaneously. The final stage in the clinical picture is the development of opisthotonus.

Symptoms of tetanus in young children

In young children the incidence of tetanus infection is less common than in adulthood. The reason is that kids spend more time at home and have no contact with the soil. However, infection in early age children can develop. Sometimes this happens immediately after the birth of the child. Entry of bacteria can be mucous membranes, scratches on the skin, and the umbilical wound. Signs of tetanus in children are the same as in adults. The exception is the incubation period which may take less time (up to 1 week) and a more pronounced intoxication syndrome.

Stage of development of tetanus

As with any infectious process, the clinical picture of tetanus is composed of several consecutive periods. Distinguish the following stages of the disease:

  1. Incubation. The length of this period can be different. On average it is 8 days. With a good immune response incubation phase is extended. At this point, the characteristic features of tetanus is not expressed. Perhaps the complete absence of clinical picture. In some cases, there are harbingers of disease: headache, fever, discomfort in throat and aching muscles.
  2. Initial stage. Lasts about 2 days. Characterized by the appearance of soreness at the entrance gate of the infection. Later, the difficulty of eating food is added due to the tricism of the chewing musculature.
  3. The height of the disease. Lasts approximately 1-2 weeks. At this point you can observe all the characteristic symptoms of tetanus. The patient was worried about seizures, which initially is localized and then spreads all over the body (opisthotonos). Expressed lockjaw and sardonic smile. The body temperature reaches 40-41 degrees. In severe cases there is spasm of the respiratory muscles.
  4. Stage of recovery. It lasts several months. During this period, there is a gradual relaxation of the muscle tissue, the patient again starts to move normally.


Tetanus is a disease that develop severe complications. They are responsible for a high mortality rate. Most dangerous is the height of the tetanus infection, when there is paralysis of all muscle groups. At this point, the patient can die from cardiac arrest or asphyxiation. In addition, the strongest contraction of skeletal muscles when opisthotonos is able to lead to broken bones and tear muscle tissue. It threatens a fatal hemorrhage, so as to help the patient in this condition is almost impossible. Another dangerous period is the recovery stage. At this time, the patient can develop pneumonia, congestive, sepsis of the body, as well as myocardial infarction or thromboembolism.

Specific treatment of the infection lies in the introduction of tetanus toxoid, which can help only in the initial stage of the disease. With the development of this disease requires immediate hospitalization. In addition to serum prescribed symptomatic treatment: anticonvulsants and pain medications, conduct sanitation entrance gate of infection.

Preventive measures

Signs of tetanus for cuts and other injuries are not apparent immediately. However, in the first hours it is necessary to conduct specific prevention of infection. To avoid contamination, it is necessary to carefully monitor the condition of the skin and mucous membranes when working in agriculture and contact with animals. The people in the foci of infection should be annually vaccinated against tetanus and to pass the examination.