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Can TETANUS infection cause stiff jaw?

Resolved Question:

Hi Doctor,

Last Wednesday I had a wound in my fingers with the contact of sand. I have not had tetanus injection after that. For last 4 days, I have stiff jaw.
a. Is this related to Tetanus infection
b. What are the next possible actions for me

Category: Internal Medicine Specialist

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
 23 Doctors Online

Thanks for writing to

I understand your concern.

Tetanus caused by Clostridium Tetani, is most commonly spread via injury caused by rusty sharp metallic objects, but it can be caused also through minor wounds caused by unclean objects. You got an wound last wednesday. So its been 6 days. Tetanus normally takes around 7-8 days to manifest, only in young children the incubation period is smaller. Most commonly it starts with jaw stiffness, slowly progressing to " Trismus " or " Lock-jaw " , finally leading to prolonged contraction of skeletal muscle fibres causing all the disease manifestations.

Indeed you have a risk of already being infected with tetanus. So its better to immediately get yourself examined by a GP, so that he can do some physical tests and check for Trismus. You only have had spasms in the jaw, but patients with tetanus will start developing spasms in the chest, neck, back muscles too. Since its not there, you should not be overtly worried. However its better to go to the doctor ASAP, and if on examining you, he feels it points more towards tetanus, he can start appropriate treatment for you. Normally mild cases are treated with tetanus immunoglobulin, and iv metronidazole, and Diazepam in severe spasmic cases. So its better to get yourself examined physically.

Please do get back to us with additional queries,


Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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