Clostridium tetani

Clostridium tetani


Standard Precautions


General Information

Anaerobic gram-positive, spore-forming bacilli.

Spores widely distributed in soil and intestines and feces of animals. No herd immunity and not transmitted from person-to-person.

Unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals with deep wound.


  • Generalized (80% of cases)
  • Localized
  • Cephalic (rare)
  • Neonatal
  • Laryngospasm
  • Fractures
  • Hypertension
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Nosocomial infections
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Aspiration pneumonia

Deep wound with necrotic tissue highest risk.


  • Children <7 years should receive DTaP or DT vaccine
  • Adults & adolescents should receive a single dose of Tdap, and routine booster immunization every 10 years

CDC. The Pink Book - Tetanus. December 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/tetanus.html