Tetanus Research Paper

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Tetanus is caused by a bacterial infection by the bacteria Clostridium tetani(1). Which is a gram-positive anaerobic rod, with flagella so it’s mobile (1). The bacteria when in it’s normal habitat is very sensitive to heat and cannot survive in the presence of oxygen; however, the bacteria can also form terminal spores, which is very resistant to heat, antiseptics and can survive in the presence of oxygen (4). The terminal spores can be found in the intestines of various animals and soil, so field laid out with manure have a high probability of containing tetani endospores, and can also be found on the human skin (4). The method of transmission used by Clostridium tetani is an indirect physical contact, due to the bacteria being transferred by puncture and contact with soil, manure, and rusty nails containing the terminal spores (4). The reservoir in which the bacteria are usually located is in the intestine of herbivore mammals like cows (4). The mammals release the terminal spore form of the bacteria through their feces (4). When the spores have entered the punctured wound in the body, and all of the bacteria’s ideal living needs are met, the bacteria will then germinate, the ideal environment is usually where the wound occurred because the dead cells provide a good living medium for the bacteria (4). Once the bacteria has germinated the Clostridium tetani then produces it’s exotoxins: Tatanospasmin and tetanolysin. Tetanolysin has no known pathogenic characteristics; however, tatanospasmin, is the known factor for tetanus (2). Tatanospasmin is a very potent toxin, and is a peptide made from heavy chain and a light chain joined by disulfide bonds (2). The heavy chain is responsible for binding to neuronal cells, while the ligh... ... middle of paper ... ...xin enters the patient and binds and inactivates the toxins still present in the patient (3). Healthy patients with immunity to tetanus can donate their blood to use their developed tetanus immune globin (3). There is a vaccine for tetanus that helps prevent future infections by the C. tetani, it usually lasts for about 5 years (3). A vaccine is prepared by injecting a weakened form of the tatanospasmin toxin and allowing the patients body to develop immunity towards tetanus (3). The conversation with the storeowner allowed me to gain knowledge on the topic of Tetanus, and influenced my future decisions when 2 years later I was on vacation with my family and my younger brother happened to have stepped on a rusty nail. I quickly told him not to ignore it and managed to send him to the hospital to be treated before the Clostridium tetani could do more damage to him.
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