Tetanus: guidance, data and analysis

The diagnosis, surveillance and epidemiology of tetanus.

Tetanus is caused by a neurotoxin produced by Clostridium tetani, an anaerobic spore forming bacillus. Tetanus spores are widespread in the environment, including in soil. They can survive hostile conditions for long periods of time.

Tetanus is not spread from person to person. Transmission occurs when spores are introduced into the body, often through a puncture wound but also through trivial, unnoticed wounds, through injecting drug use, and occasionally through abdominal surgery.

For symptoms and general information on tetanus, visit NHS.UK

Tetanus is a notifiable disease in England. Health professionals must inform local health protection teams of suspected cases.

Diagnosis and management


Data collection

Epidemiology and surveillance


Tetanus is preventable through adequate immunisation and wound management.

Updates to this page

Published 23 December 2008
Last updated 19 May 2023 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Tetanus in England: annual reports'.

  2. Added tetanus prone wounds posters.

  3. First published.