The clinical features of a modified form of tetanus, termed 'subacute tetanus', occurring in non-immune patients are presented as manifested in five patients. Subacute tetanus has a good prognosis and favourable outcome. Trismus and abdominal rigidity may be minimal or absent. Nocturnal, brief generalized muscle spasms, palpably contracted sternomastoid muscles and spastic limbs are common features of the disease. The pathophysiology of the nocturnal muscle spasms requires elucidation.