Tetanus is caused by bacteria that enter the body through skin wounds.


Tetanus is caused by bacteria that enter the body through skin wounds. It is characterised by muscle rigidity and seizures, and is potentially fatal. Medical treatment is always required; vaccination can prevent infection.


  • Headache and painful limbs
  • Fever and fatigue
  • Extremely painful muscle contractions
  • Muscle rigidity

Causes and treatment


  • Bacteria: Clostridium tetani
    • Found mainly in soil, manure, pig slurry, dust and sand
    • Enter the body through small skin wounds

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Blood test
Possible therapies
  • Observation in hospital
  • Muscle relaxation (“antispasmodic” treatment)
  • Sedation (inducing a state of calm)
  • Machine ventilation
  • Administration of tetanus immune globulin (“antiserum”)
  • Artificial feeding
  • Antibiotics

What can I do myself?

  • Wear protective gloves in the garden, forest or stables
  • Disinfect all wounds, even small ones
  • Vaccination (protection for approx. 10 years)

When to see a doctor?

  • Basic vaccination / booster shot
  • Wound injuries with
    • High fever
    • Muscle cramps
    • muscle rigidity

Further information

Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)


lockjaw, tetanus

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.