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Tetanus
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Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Tetanus (DTaP, Tdap, Td)

Tetanus is a serious disease caused by bacteria. The actual disease is caused when the bacteria release a toxin, or poison, into a person's body.
Tetanus gets into the body through cuts or wounds. Tetanus can also infect someone in less commonly considered wounds, such as skin ulcers, scrapes, or insect or animal bites.
Tetanus can cause extremely painful muscle cramps all over the body. This disease can be deadly. In the most common form of tetanus, the first sign is spasm of the jaw muscles, followed by stiffness of the neck, and difficulty in swallowing.
Tetanus bacteria are in the soil, so people who work, garden or play outside can get infected even from a minor injury, such as a puncture from a rose thorn.
Vaccination is the most effective step you can take to be protected from this serious disease.
Tetanus Vaccine Schedule
All children should get 5 doses of DTaP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccine, beginning when they are 2 months old. If your child misses a dose or gets behind schedule, make sure they get the next dose as soon as possible. Older children, teens, and adults should receive Tdap vaccine and after that, a Td or Tdap booster dose every 10 years. Consult your healthcare provider if you have a deep or dirty wound.
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Trusted Websites
Tetanus
Tetanus
Find fact sheets for parents and children, resources, multimedia, and more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tetanus (Lockjaw)
Tetanus (Lockjaw)
Find easy-to-understand vaccine information for yourself or your loved ones
A Look at Each Vaccine: Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines
A Look at Each Vaccine: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis Vaccines
Questions and answers about the disease and vaccines from the Vaccine Education Center
View all diseases and vaccines
Video Library
Video: Tetanus
Tetanus: Tetanus is a serious and deadly disease caused by bacteria. The bacteria that cause tetanus live in dirt, dust, and soil. Protect yourself from tetanus. Get vaccinated.
>> view all tetanus videos
Personal Testimonies
Stories of suffering and loss from tetanus
Blindsided by Tetanus: Are you psychotic, overdosing, or did you just forget your booster shot?
Tetanus Is Far More Than a "Rusty Nail" Disease
Tetanus Killed Woman After Fall in Garden
>> view all personal testimonies
More Tetanus Information
Whooping Cough, Tetanus, and Diphtheria Are Serious Diseases… Make sure your child is protected! (IAC)
Whooping Cough, Tetanus, and Diphtheria Are Serious Diseases… Make sure your child is protected! (IAC)
Vaccine summary for parents
>> Spanish-language
Tetanus: Questions and Answers (IAC)
Tetanus: Questions and Answers (IAC)
Tetanus disease and vaccine information
Vaccine (Shot) for Tetanus (CDC)
Vaccine (Shot) for Tetanus (CDC)
Frequently asked questions
>> Spanish-language
Tetanus: What You Should Know
Tetanus: What you should know (VEC)
Tetanus Q&A fact sheet
Tetanus Photos
Some of the images are quite graphic
>> view all tetanus photos
 
This page was reviewed on May 12, 2021.
This page was updated on May 12, 2021.
Immunization Action Coalition  •  2550 University Avenue West  •  Suite 415 North  •  Saint Paul, Minnesota  •  55114
tel 651-647-9009  •  fax 651-647-9131
 
The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), a non-profit organization, works to increase immunization rates and prevent disease by creating and distributing educational materials for health professionals and the public that enhance delivery of safe and effective immunization services. IAC also facilitates communication about the safety, efficacy, and use of vaccines within the broad immunization community of patients, parents, healthcare organizations, and government health agencies.