What is tetanus?

Tetanus is a disease caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani. Clostridium tetani are found in the environment such as soil, on thorns, wood splinters and nails and produce a neurotoxin that is extremely dangerous to humans. Tetanus can manifest with painful spasms of the jaw, tongue, back and abdominal muscles. Up to one in five people who contract tetanus die.


When and how often should I be vaccinated against tetanus?

The tetanus vaccination is recommended to everyone worldwide and in Switzerland, is carried out during childhood. In addition to the basic immunization and the regular booster vaccination, the vaccination can also administered  after an accident, if ordered by a doctor. If there is a certain pre-existing condition, occupational exposure or immunosuppression, a booster vaccination should be given every 10 years. In healthy persons between 25 and 65 years of age, only one booster vaccination every 20 years is necessary.

26-75 CHF per dose

plus consultation and injection fee

What else should I know about the tetanus vaccine?

  • The tetanus vaccine does not protect against infection with the bacterium, but against the dangerous tetanus toxin it produces. The antibodies formed inactivate the tetanus toxin and thus prevent its harmful effects in the human body.

  • Tetanus is often confused with rabies, as both diseases cause cramps. But the pathogen and the route of transmission are different.

  • In cases of severe injuries and insufficient vaccination protection, passive vaccination can be used in addition to standard active vaccination. Passive vaccination consists of tetanus antibodies that can directly inactivate the tetanus toxin.

  • For more information on tetanus, please visit the website of the FOPH.

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