- (pathology) A serious and often fatal disease arising through infection of an open wound by the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium tetani that is found in soil and the intestines and faeces of animals. The bacteria produce an exotoxin which causes spasmodic contraction of voluntary muscles, especially those of the neck and jaw.
- (physiology) A state of muscle tension caused by sustained contraction arising from a rapid series of nerve impulses which do not allow the muscle to relax.
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Full Definition of tetanus