About Tetanus

Tetanus is different from other vaccine-preventable diseases because it does not spread from person to person. The bacteria are usually found in soil, dust, and manure and enter the body through breaks in the skin — usually cuts or puncture wounds caused by contaminated objects.

Today, tetanus is uncommon in the United States, with an average of about 30 reported cases each year. Nearly all cases of tetanus are among people who did not get all the recommended tetanus vaccinations. This includes people who have never received a tetanus vaccine and adults who don’t stay up to date on their 10-year booster shots.

Page last reviewed: February 28, 2019