Tetanus are Anaerobic! Can Oxygen infusion into the wound, heal tetanus?
Think about it for a moment! Then look for the answer.
When listening to the lecture on Microbiology I had this question! My rationale there was, the anaerobic bacteria of the Clostridium tetanii should be destroyed in the presence of Oxygen because they are Obligate anaerobes.
Cool, so we are clear on it. So what is the issue with infusing oxygen into the wound of suspected Tetanus infection? Oxygen should destroy the bacteria and the patient should get well, right?
Unfortunately that is not the case! It doesn’t happen that way! But why? My professor explained to me after the lecture, when I asked him the question! For that let’s get clear on the pathophysiology of Tetanus.
The clinical s/sx of tetanus don’t manifest because of the bacteria. But because of the Neurotoxin that the vegetative cells of C. tetani makes. (The spread of the bacteria itself is very slow)
Vegetative cells of C. tetani makes spores. These spores can get into the wound and germinate in favorable conditions. And yield vegetative cells which can again make the Neurotoxin.
But reason why the Oxygen can’t stop tetanus is, that Oxygen has NO effect on the spores. Therefore even if the infused oxygen will destroy the vegetative bacteria, as soon as it is stopped, the spores will germinate and continue the process.
But bleeding from the wound has a better prognosis. Because bleeding gives oxygen to the site. Dafaq, right?
Don’t get too swayed! Now concentrate on the word ‘favorable’. The oxygen in the blood, will oxygenate the tissue, depriving the spores of it’s favorable conditions to germinate, thus slowing down the infection process. It doesn’t destroy. But the continuous presence of Oxygen in blood will(in contrast to intermittent infusion of exogenous oxygen) stop spore germination.
This is why, the oxygen from outside does no effect and oxygen in blood has an effect and infusing air has nothing to do with tetanus.
But in order to clean the wound, we use H2O2, and debride it as soon as possible to remove debris. And also give antitoxin to stop Neurotoxicity.