Tetanus is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani, the bacteria get into the body through a break in the skin and produce a toxin that attacks the nervous system. The disease is characterized by painful muscular contractions at the jaws and the neck; the trunk is sometimes also affected and generalized spasms of muscles may occur.
In severe cases, infected persons may not be able to swallow or open his/her mouth. When tetanus affects muscles that help to breathe, the patient can die very quickly.
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