Also known as: Corynebacterium diphtheriae infection.

What is diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that causes several symptoms, the most serious of which is a thick film of material that covers the back of the throat and causes breathing problems. A vaccine for diphtheria has made the disease increasingly rare in the United States and elsewhere.

What causes diphtheria? 

The bacteria Corynebacterium diphtheriae is the cause of the infection. It can be spread through the air via sneezing or coughing or through contaminated surfaces.

What are the symptoms of diphtheria?

The thick, gray membrane that encases the tonsils and throat is the primary and most alarming symptom of diphtheria. It also causes sore throat, hoarseness, trouble breathing, runny nose, fever, chills, fatigue and swollen glands.

What are diphtheria care options?

A vaccination can prevent diphtheria from occurring. A combination of antitoxins (serum antibodies) and antibiotics are used to rid the body of diphtheria and help to cure the disease.

Reviewed by: Otto M Ramos, MD

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:13:59 PM

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