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Is tetanus deadly?

Page last updated 07 April 2022

Yes, tetanus can be deadly, even with prompt medical attention. About one in 10 people who contract tetanus will die. The extremely serious and potentially lethal complications of tetanus include:

  • suffocation
  • lung failure
  • pneumonia (infection of the lungs)
  • hypertension (high blood pressure), hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • heart attack.


Always seek medical advice for dirty wounds or if the skin has been penetrated or punctured with an object where contamination is a possibility. The best way to reduce the risk of tetanus is to keep up to date with your vaccinations.

Sources & Citations

3. Victoria State Government – Better Health Channel. Tetanus. Available at: (accessed 08 March 2022).

MAT-AU-2200366  Date of preparation March 2022