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Can Tetanus cause injury and/or death?

Updated April 05, 2024

disease injury death

Tetanus is a very serious disease requiring hospitalization and medical treatments. Symptoms of tetanus include: 

  • Headache
  • Fever and sweating
  • Jaw cramping
  • Muscle spasms, commonly involving the stomach
  • Painful muscle stiffness throughout the entire body
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Seizures
  • Blood pressure and heart rate changes

Complications of tetanus include: 

  • Bone fractures
  • Vocal cord spasms
  • Infections acquired in the hospital during the course of treatment
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pneumonia
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Death

Tetanus is a rare disease in the United States and rates of the disease have decreased by 95 percent. Since 1947, tetanus associated fatalities have declined by 99 percent.  While most people who develop tetanus recover fully from the disease, full recovery can take between two and four months. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Tetanus and the Tetanus vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents , which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.


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