Cephalic tetanus: A case report and review of the literature

Andy Jagoda, Silvana Riggio, Thomas Burguieres

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55 Scopus citations


Cephalic tetanus is a rare form of tetanus defined as trismus plus paralysis of one or more cranial nerves. The most frequently involved cranial nerve is the seventh. It accounts for 1 to 3% of the total number of reported cases of tetanus and has a mortality of 15 to 30%. The incubation period is 1 to 14 days, and approximately two thirds of cases progress to generalized tetanus. The mechanism of the paralysis is not completely understood. Treatment involves debridement of wounds, administration of penicillin and tetanus immune globulin, aggressive supportive care, and initiation of active immunization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-130
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Cephalic tetanus
  • tetanospasmin
  • tetanus


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