(HealthDay News) -- Tetanus is a nervous system disorder that leads to severe and painful muscle spasms. It's caused by a bacterium that is commonly found in soil, dust and animal waste.
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The bacteria enter the body through an open cut or sore, says the Directors of Health Promotion and Education. Most often it's contracted from a deep puncture wound caused by a sharp object like a knife or a nail.
A tetanus vaccine is commonly given to children, combined with inoculations against diphtheria and pertussis vaccines, in a multi-shot vaccine called DTP.
Another way to prevent tetanus is to thoroughly clean any wound -- especially a deep puncture -- with antiseptic. Discuss any significant wound with your doctor to see if an antibiotic may be needed.
-- Diana Kohnle
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