Flood Waters & Tetanus

What You Need to Know from the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department

What is tetanus?

Also known as “lockjaw”, tetanus is a disease of the nerves caused by

bacteria in a contaminated wound.

  • The tetanus bacteria is commonly found in soil.
  • It enters the body through any opening, from a slight scratch to a severe wound.
  • It can cause painful spasms of all muscles, convulsions and even death.

Who should get Td (tetanus/diphtheria) vaccine?

  • Persons lacking a complete primary series of tetanus and diphtheria vaccines.
  • Persons who have not had a booster of Td in the last 10 years.
  • Persons who have a more severe or dirty wound if more than 5 years have elapsed since their last Td booster.


  • Exposure to flood water alone is not a reason to receive a tetanus vaccine.


To find out if you need a tetanus vaccine, contact your health care provider or the Wheeling Ohio County Health Department. For more information call 304.234.3682