How to Diagnose Tetanus

Thursday, 26 May 2011 04:38 PM

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Tetanus is caused by the microorganism Bacillus Clostridium Tetani. These bacteria thrive on wounds and cuts and produce a toxin that is responsible for tetanus.

Tetanus Symptoms & Diagnosis:

It is not easy to diagnose tetanus. Most physicians diagnose tetanus based on these symptoms: muscle spasm, pain, stiffness, sweating, headache, irritability, and lockjaw.

Tetanus progresses in stages and tetanus symptoms generally start with lockjaw, followed by muscle spasms, sweating, and headache. Irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure with one or more of the abovementioned tetanus symptoms could also indicate tetanus.

In babies, high levels of irritability, drooling, sweating, and breathlessness are some of the tetanus symptoms that are helpful in diagnosis.

Tests:
Spatula test is done to diagnose tetanus. In this test, a soft-tipped instrument is used to touch the pharyngeal area and the patient’s response is noted: Involuntary contraction of the jaw indicates tetanus.

If the physical symptoms and symptom progression indicate tetanus, laboratory tests such as a blood test can be performed to confirm tetanus diagnosis.

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