Tetanus is a severe, life-threatening infectious disease present worldwide. The incidence of this disease is very low in developed countries, and practitioners are unfamiliar with its symptoms and signs, resulting in late diagnosis and low recovery rate. Furthermore, main symptoms, such as trismus, are often associated with several confounding factors: these may lead the physician to send patients towards an incorrect diagnostic management and the calling on of wrong specialists. This case focuses on the importance of considering tetanus in the differential diagnosis of trismus associated with systemic symptoms, and discusses the clinical implications of an initial wrong diagnostic pathway.
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