Tetanus vaccination

Tetanus vaccination

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Credit: SAMUEL ASHFIELD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Tetanus vaccination. Antitetanus vaccine being injected into the arm of a patient. Vaccines are killed or weakened disease-causing micro-organisms that prompt an immune response, which prepares the body for future infections. Tetanus is caused by the Clostridium tetani bacterium, which is prevalent in soil contaminated with animal droppings. It affects humans with wounds sustained from dirty objects. Following infection, the bacteria incubate for 7-10 days, before producing a poison that irritates the nerves that supply the muscles. Symptoms include muscle rigidity, whole body spasms and possibly death. It can be treated with tetanus antitoxins and penicillin.

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