An unimmunized child from Grey Bruce has been diagnosed with tetanus, according to the Grey Bruce Health Unit.

It is the first recorded case of tetanus in Grey Bruce.

Health officials say the child has been hospitalized and is in critical condition.

Tetanus (lockjaw) is rare in Ontario, on average one case per year. It is a serious disease caused when tetanus spores get into a cut or puncture wound. Tetanus spores are found everywhere, in soil, dust, and manure.

The disease is not spread from person to person. It causes cramping of the muscles in the neck, arms, legs and stomach. It may also cause painful convulsions.

Even with early treatment, tetanus has a fatality rate of about 20 per cent. The highest fatality rates are found in infants and the elderly.

Tetanus vaccine is routinely administered in combination with vaccines against diphtheria, pertussis, polio, and Haemophilus influenza type b to children at two, four, six, and 18 months of age. Completion of the primary series provides more than 99 per cent protection, says the health unit.

Booster doses of tetanus vaccines are given at four to six years old and 14 to 16 years of age. A booster dose is recommended for adults every 10 years.