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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Got scratched on upper arm, healed with neosporine. Stiffness in neck. Is this a tetanus infection?

I got a slight scratch on my upper arm, from arusty fence wire about 6 days ago. The wound healed easly with neosporine. I have not had a tetnus shot for many years. I'm a retired teacher. Last night I felt a stifness in my neck and began to associate the rusty wire scratch from 6 days ago to the present condition. Is this a tetnus infection?
Tue, 30 Jul 2013
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Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement 's  Response
Hi, thanks for writing to HCM.

I don't think you have tetanus because simple abrasions do not result in tetanus. The classical presenting symptoms of tetanus are TRISMUS (Lock jaw), sustained facial muscle contraction (Risus sardonicus), Dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), neck pain or stiffness, Back muscles contraction (Ophistonus) and rigidity of abdominal wall etc.

The general incubation period (period before symptoms manifest) is from 5-14 days.

If you have any more doubts, consult your family physician.

Hope this information is helpful. Good day

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Gastroenterologist, Surgical Dr. Ketan Vagholkar's  Response
Less likely to be so. But as a safeguard contact your doctor immediately. Get yourself injected with both passive and active immunisation.
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