Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Have you had your diphtheria vaccines? Here's why it matters

An adult from the north coast of New South Wales is the latest Australian to be diagnosed with the deadly infectious disease, diphtheria. The patient, who was diagnosed on Monday, is being treated with antibiotics and health ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Diphtheria kills nine in Bangladesh Rohingya camps

Bangladesh Tuesday launched a massive drive to vaccinate Rohingya children against diphtheria after a suspected outbreak killed nine refugees and infected more than 700.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Yemen diphtheria cases soar amid dire vaccine shortage: WHO

Twenty-two people have died of suspected diphtheria in conflict-ravaged Yemen, the World Health Organization said Friday, warning that a port and airport blockade had created a dire shortage of vaccines.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Three people have died of suspected diphtheria in conflict-hit Yemen, doctors said Wednesday, as the World Health Organisation and International Committee of the Red Cross warned the disease was spreading.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Tetanus shots needed every 30 years, not every 10

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University are challenging the convention that tetanus and diphtheria vaccine boosters need to be administered every 10 years. Their paper in Clinical Infectious Diseases recommends ...

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Diphtheria

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 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 DPT (Diphtheria–Pertussis–Tetanus) 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.

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