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Tetanus is an infection caused by bacteria called Clostridium tetani. When the bacteria invade the body, they produce a poison (toxin) that causes painful muscle contractions. Another name for tetanus is "lockjaw" because it often causes a person's neck and jaw muscles to lock, making it hard to open the mouth or swallow. Vaccines are recommended for infants, children, teens and adults to prevent tetanus.

Tetanus Topics

Person holding their foot in pain.About Tetanus Disease

Causes and transmission, symptoms and complications, prevention…


Tetanus vaccine basics, Vaccine safety, school mandates…

line graphSurveillance

Reported tetanus cases.

image of nurseFor Clinicians

Symptoms and diagnosis, treatment, prevention…

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Publications, web features, podcasts, e-Cards, print materials…

Tetanus Vaccination

Tetanus Vaccines: "What You Need to Know" [66 KB, 2 pages]
This one-page CDC vaccine information statement explains who should get tetanus vaccine and when.

Tetanus Vaccine Basics
Offers comprehensive information about tetanus vaccines and other educational tools.

Vaccine Safety
As with all vaccines, there can be minor reactions, including pain and redness at the injection site, headache, fatigue or a vague feeling of discomfort.

School Mandates
Tdap booster requirements for secondary schools.

Tetanus for Kids

Tetanus bam character

Tetanus is a real lowlife, skulking around the dirtiest places, waiting for the chance to infect someone. It hangs out in places like dirt or soil, and in the bowels (intestines) of animals and people...more

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