Find out how we define and monitor cases of tetanus, how you can get vaccinated, and where you can learn more about this disease.

About tetanus

Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by Clostridium tetani. The bacteria make a toxin in your body that causes the disease. 

Tetanus causes severe muscle spasms, especially in the neck and jaw (called lockjaw). Around 1 in 10 people who get the disease will die from it. Babies and older people have the highest risk of dying from tetanus. 

Disease type:
Vaccination available under NIP:
Notifiable disease:


Tetanus can be prevented with vaccination. If you're eligible, you can get tetanus vaccines for free under the National Immunisation Program. See more information about when to get vaccinated.  


Find out more about getting vaccinated against tetanus

Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

For information about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, see healthdirect's tetanus page

Surveillance and reporting

Tetanus is a nationally notifiable disease

We monitor cases through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS).

For more on tetanus in Australia, you can search Communicable Diseases Intelligence.  

Date last updated:

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