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A Case Report of Tetanus Patient Showing Trismus and Dysphagia as Early Symptoms

  • Jang, Seo-Hee (Department of Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Byun, Jin-Seok (Department of Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Jung, Jae-Kwang (Department of Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Choi, Jae-Kap (Department of Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, Kyungpook National University)
  • Received : 2020.09.07
  • Accepted : 2020.09.10
  • Published : 2020.09.30

Abstract

Tetanus is a fatal disease caused by the infection Clostridium tetani found in animal feces and soil. It is a vaccine-preventable disease and rarely occurs in developed countries. However, approximately 30 cases still occur annually in South Korea. Tetanus, commonly called lockjaw, cause contraction of the masseter muscles in the early stage, resulting in trismus as the first symptom. As it progresses, spasm extends to various muscles in the face, neck, shoulder, and back, leading to distorted facial expression, dysphagia, backward arching of the body, dyspnea, and even death. Early diagnosis of tetanus is critical because it can quickly become fatal if left untreated. We present a case of trismus caused by tetanus and emphasize the importance of early diagnosis of acute trismus.

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