- Diphtheria is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheria.
- Diphtheria is a severe communicable and bacterial infectious disease that causes inflammation of the mucous membranes by forming a false membrane in the throat which creates a problem while swallowing food and during breathing.
- Currently, this syndrome is rare in developed countries.
- This disease spreads easily from one person to another but can be prevented by the use of vaccines.
Symptoms of Diphtheria
- The signs of diphtheria appear in a short period of time within three to five days after the infection has occurred.
The most common symptom
- Gray, thick covering on the tonsils and throat.
Other usual symptoms include
- A loud cough.
- Swollen neck.
- A sore throat.
- Feeling discomfort.
If the infection prolongs, further symptoms may develop.
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- Slurred speech.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Redness and ulcers in the affected region.
People who are at increased risk of contracting diphtheria include
- Children and adults who don’t have up-to-date vaccinations
- People living in crowded or unsanitary conditions
- Anyone who travels to an area where diphtheria infections are more common
Left untreated, diphtheria can lead to:
- Breathing problems.
- Heart damage.
- Nerve damage.
- Today, the disease is not only treatable but also preventable with a vaccine.
- The diphtheria vaccine is usually combined with vaccines for tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis).
- The three-in-one vaccine is known as the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine.
- The latest version of this vaccine is known as the DTaP vaccine for children and the Tdap vaccine for adolescents and adults.
Vaccination consists of a series of five shots, typically administered in the arm or thigh, given to children at these ages:
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 15 to 18 months
- 4 to 6 years