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Word Count: 522
Tetanus is a serious sometimes fatal disease caused by theinfection of a puncture wound in the skin by spores containingthe bacterium Clostridium tetani These bacterial spores arecommonly found in soil animal excrement house dust operatingrooms contaminated heroin and most surprisingly the humancolon The bacteria that causes tetanus cannot grow in thepresence of oxygen That is why the bacteria do not grow inshallow or wide wounds exposed to air The way these spores enteryour body is through a wound that penetrates the skin and extendsdeeper than oxygen can reach The spores then produce a nervetoxin as they multiply and enter the bloodstream The newlyproduced nerve toxin causes spasms and convulsions by interferingwith the nerves that control muscles The toxin moves inwardtowards the spine at about 10 inches a day Once tetanus hasspread the mortality rate is approximately 40 The tetanusbacteria commonly live in the intestines of both animals andAs mentioned earlier tetanus is found in soil animalexcrement house dust operating rooms contaminated heroin andthe human colon but the most prevalent way of communication isthrough animal bites Wild animals are perfect carriers fortetanus and with natures constant unpredictability there isalways a chance of infection There is also many unknown ways ofinfection that you may never have thought were possible fortetanus such as stomach ulcers and infected umbilical cordsSymptoms are extensive and painful some of which includeuncontrollable spasms stiff jaw and neck muscles difficultyswallowing slight fever headache chills involuntarycontraction of muscles and irritability Typically the firstsymptoms are felt eight to twelve days after infection In severeinfections it takes only a minor stimulus to trigger s seizureIf muscle spasms develop early chances of recovery are poor Some of the most common risk factors occur in people whohave not had recent booster vaccinations against the diseaseFortunately there are only about 50 cases a year that arereported in this country Of those 50 about three quarters areelderly people or people who have never been immunized Though anestimated one million infants die
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