Clostridium tetani (Tetanus)

Clostridium tetani (Tetanus) is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

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MICROBIOLOGY

  • Clostridium tetani is a Gram-positive bacillus, obligate anaerobe.
    • If culture enters the endospore stage, may have classic tennis racquet morphology [Fig 1].
  • Spore widespread in soil and animal feces.
  • Rod-shaped appearance on gram stain often likened to drumsticks or tennis rackets.
  • Toxin, tetanospasmin, causes tetanus: unopposed muscle spasm, contraction due to interference of toxin with neurotransmitters (including GABA and glycine).

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Last updated: September 27, 2019