Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Rusty Spikes SUCK

So we were rectally palpating cows (exactly what it sounds like) when I jumped off the fence onto a strategically places rusty gate spike impaling my right ass cheek. Since my last tetanus shot was in 1991, I got one on Monday. In case you forgot your last tetanus shot, THEY SUCK! My left arm is now so sore I can hardly lift it let alone do anything useful with it. I would like to share with your some fun facts about tetanus.


Tetanus is caused by an anaerobic bacteria, Clostridium tetani. The bacteria does not normally pose a problem to us because we live in an oxygenated world. RUST causes oxygen to be bound and forms a very nice anaerobic environment for the bacteria. Additionally, punctures are the best growth environment for the bacteria because scrapes are exposed to oxygen.

The first noticeable signs of tetanus are convulsive spasms of skeletal muscle. These are usually deep and painful. Eventually a tightening of the muscles occur causing the characteristic lockjaw effect. Symptoms are acute and often fatal.

Records from 5th century BC contain descriptions of tetanus, but it was Carle and Rattone in 1884 who first produced a case by infecting animals with pus from a fatal human case. Animal cases were reproduced by soild in 1889.

A passive vaccine was produced in 1897 and used on soldiers in World War I. Tetanus toxoid, the common vaccine, was produced in 1924 and first widely used in WWII.

Although the bacteria is sensitive to heat and cannot survive in oxygen, the spores are resistant to antibiotics, heat (icluding steam autoclaving), and many chemical agents.

The spores are often found in the bowels of most domesticated animals including, but not limited to, horses, cattle, cats, and dogs. The spores are also often found in manure treated soil and contaminated heroin.

The bacteria produces two exotoxins, tetanolysin and tetanospasmin. Tetanospasmin is the neurotoxin that manifests the physical symptons of tetanus. Per weight,it is one of the most deadly toxins, requiring only 2.5 nanograms/kg body weight to be fatal. The function of tetanolysin is not yet known.

The Tetanus toxoid vaccine is a series of 3 or 4 (depending on age) Td, Tdap, DTaP or DT shots. They are given with diptheria vaccine. After the series of 3 or 4 shots, a booster is needed every 10 year. Most series are given in children by DTaP or DT by the age of 18 mo. After age 7, vaccines should be given as Tdap or Td.

Side effects of the vaccine are local aching, swelling, stiffness, and arthritic type pains. Occasionally fever and systemic pains may occur. Rare effects are muscle wasting and severe systemic reactions.


Watch Star Trek: The Next Generation for four hours in a row.

Write stupid fact sheets on Tetanus.

Talk to your plants (by the way, all my plants except the catnip are doing VERY well).

Thing about ways to get more whole wheat into your diet.

Look stupid at your aerobics class because you can't move your left arm during kickboxing.

Organic Chemistry.

Make celery sticks.

Eat celery sticks.

Call mom and talk about how if polio made a comeback, dear seester would be ok because she got vaccinated but I probably wouldn't be because I probably didn't get the vaccine.

Talk about the recent outbreak of mumps as well.

Also have a talk about the guy that just died of flesh eating bacteria. Another woman is sick and they are saying it probably isn't from all that raw sewage they pumped into the Ala Wai which goes straight into the ocean. Ok, right, whatever.