John, a 24-year-old construction worker, was assigned to work on a renovation project in New York City.
Just before lunch, John cut himself on a rusty nail causing inflammation, but he just covered it with a bandage and headed to a restaurant.
John was okay for the rest of the week, but on the next Monday, he collapsed in the parking lot with his limbs locked in odd positions due to muscle spasms.
Once the ambulance arrived, John was rushed to the hospital where they gave him tetanus immune globulin and a drug to relax his muscles. After a day without any further muscle spasms, John was sent home with an antibiotic.
When John cut his foot on the nail, it allowed the clostridium tetani bacteria to bypass his first non-specific defense, the skin. Normally, the bacteria would've had to get past the mucus layers in his throat and nose, but the cut provided an alternate entry.
The once in the body, the antigen triggered an immune response so that the antibodies will attach to the bacteria and the phagocytes will dispose of it.