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8 deadly diseases cured by modern science

Aug. 20, 2013, 12:15 p.m.
child after tetanus vaccination in Lobaye, Central African Republic

Photo: hdptcar/Flickr

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Tetanus

Though most commonly associated with rust and infections caused by rusty nails, tetanus is actually not caused by rust itself. Rather, tetanus comes from the bacterium Clostridium tetani, the spores for which can often be found on rusty surfaces. The disease is characterized by painful muscle spasms, most often in the jaw (thus the term "lockjaw").

Luckily, the disease can be prevented with regular vaccination. In places where regular tetanus shots are given, such as in the United States, the disease has been nearly eliminated. According to the CDC, only 233 cases of tetanus were reported in the United States between 2001 and 2008, mostly the fault of people late to get their scheduled booster shot.

This photo shows a child after being vaccinated in Lobaye, Central African Republic.