Tetanus is caused by a bacteria. It is often a fatal disease which affects all age groups. Tetanus spores are found in the intestines of animals and in the soil and fomites contaminated by their faeces. A person infected with the tetanus bacteria experiences painful muscle contractions that begin in the neck (hence the popular name "lockjaw") and then continue down to involve the muscles of the torso. Since 1980, only 5 deaths have been reported in Canada. Tetanus can be prevented by a vaccine. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends primary vaccination of all children at 2, 4, 6, and 18 months followed by booster doses at 4 to 6 years of age and every ten years after that (NACI-Recommended Childhood Vaccination Schedule, Canada).
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