What is Diphtheria?

A rare bacterial infectious disease characterized by an affliction of the upper respiratory tract mediated by the toxin of Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Symptoms include formation of an inflammatory pseudomembrane, fever, sore throat, headaches, coughing, dysphagia, dyspnea, and prominently swollen cervical lymph nodes. The disease may lead to respiratory failure and severe toxin-mediated damage of internal organs, including the heart and kidneys. A cutaneous form of diphtheria is more common in tropical climates and usually follows an indolent course.

Age of Onset

  • All ages
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