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Baby in hospital with tetanus, muscle spasm

Baby in hospital with tetanus, muscle spasm

M270/0135

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Credit

SUE FORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SUE FORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Tetanus. A baby with muscle stiffness caused by tetanus. This is a disease of the central nervous system caused by infection of a wound with spores of the bacterium Clostridium tetani. The spores multiply and produce a toxin which acts on nerves controlling muscle activity. This causes stiffness of the jaw (lockjaw), and of facial and trunk muscles. Painful muscle spasms may develop, and if these affect the chest wall or the larynx asphyxia may result unless a tracheostomy is performed and a ventilator provided. Prompt treatment with anti-toxin injections can produce a complete recovery. Contamination of the umbilical stump can cause tetanus in the newborn. Photographed in Vietnam.

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