Tetanus is caused by a neurotoxin produced by the spore-forming bacterium Clostridium tetani. Tetanus is unique among the vaccine preventable diseases in that it is not communicable. Disease occurs when the ubiquitous C. tetani spores are introduced into the hypo-aerobic conditions of devitalized tissue and puncture wounds, where they germinate and produce a neurotoxin. The inactivated toxin, termed tetanus toxoid, effectively induces antibody production and vaccines became commercially available already in 1938.

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