SUE FORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SUE FORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Tetanus. Babies 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 & produce a toxin which affects motor nerve function in unimmunized people. This causes stiffness of the jaw (lockjaw), & of the trunk muscles. Painful muscle spasms may develop, and if these affect the chest wall or the larynx asphyxia may result, unless a tracheostomy is per- formed & a ventilator provided. Prompt treatment with antitoxin can produce a complete recovery. Contamination of the umbilical stump can cause tetanus in the newborn. Photographed in Vietnam.
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