Health protection – collection

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 Choices

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

Diagnosis and management

  1. RVPBRU: reference and diagnostic services

    • Detailed guide
  2. Tetanus: advice for health professionals

    • Guidance
  3. Tetanus: advice for people who inject drugs

    • Guidance
  4. People who inject drugs: infection risks, guidance and data

    • Detailed guide

Data collection

  1. Tetanus: enhanced surveillance questionnaire

    • Form

Epidemiology

  1. Tetanus in England and Wales: annual reports

    • Research and analysis
  2. Tetanus: epidemiological data

    • Research and analysis

Vaccination

Tetanus is preventable through adequate immunisation and wound management. Five doses of vaccine are now considered to give adequate immunity and routine boosters every 10 years are no longer necessary.

  1. Tetanus: the green book, chapter 30

    • Guidance
  2. UK immunisation schedule: the green book, chapter 11

    • Guidance