Diphtheria

Ethical issue: Who gets experimental Ebola drug?

The use of an experimental drug to treat two Americans diagnosed with Ebola is raising ethical questions about who gets first access to unproven new therapies for the deadly disease. But some health experts ...

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A world of disease at your fingertips

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Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines

One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice. And doctors may be overlooking some cost factors when choosing vaccines, driving the market toward what is actually a more expensive ...

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Hitchhiking vaccines boost immunity

Many vaccines, including those for influenza, polio, and measles, consist of a killed or disabled version of a virus. However, for certain diseases, this type of vaccine is ineffective, or just too risky.

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Diphtheria (Greek διφθέρα (diphthera) "pair of leather scrolls") is an upper respiratory tract illness caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, a facultative anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium. It is characterized by sore throat, low fever, and an adherent membrane (a pseudomembrane) on the tonsils, pharynx, and/or nasal cavity. A milder form of diphtheria can be restricted to the skin. Less common consequences include myocarditis (about 20% of cases) and peripheral neuropathy (about 10% of cases). Diphtheria is extremely rare in the United States and Canada.

Diphtheria is a contagious disease spread by direct physical contact or breathing the aerosolized secretions of infected individuals. Historically quite common, diphtheria has largely been eradicated in industrialized nations through widespread vaccination. In the United States, for example, there were 52 reported cases of diphtheria between 1980 and 2000; between 2000 and 2007, there were only three cases as the diphtheria–pertussis–tetanus (DPT) vaccine is recommended for all school-age children. Boosters of the vaccine are recommended for adults, since the benefits of the vaccine decrease with age without constant re-exposure; they are particularly recommended for those traveling to areas where the disease has not been eradicated.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

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