Diphtheria its Symptoms Causes & Treatment - MedicalnHealth


In this article, we will tell you about Diphtheria its Symptoms | Causes & Treatment.

Variants of Corynebacterium diphtheriae cause the highly contagious bacterial infection known as diphtheria (C. diphtheriae).

Usually, Diphtheria has an impact on the integumentary system or the respiratory system. The hypodermis, dermis, and epidermis of the skin, as well as the glands, nails, and hair, are all parts of the integumentary system.


Depending on the particular bacterial variant involved and the area of the body affected, different diphtheria symptoms can manifest in different ways. The respiratory system or the skin may be impacted by diphtheria.

A person may experience open sores and ulcers if it has affected their skin, according to the CDCTrusted Source. Rarely does this cause serious illness?

Usually lasting between two and five days, the incubation process can last up to ten.

Respiratory diphtheria can gradually worsen and cause:

  • having trouble swallowing
  • unwell throat
  • weakness
  • neck glands that are enlarged
  • slight fever
  • appetite decline
  • if the disease has affected the larynx, hoarseness

The toxin released kills the healthy tissue in a person’s respiratory system after two to three days. As a result, the nose or throat starts to develop a thick, grey coating. This covering is referred to by doctors as a pseudomembrane.

Hoarseness, a barking cough, and the risk of complete obstruction of the airway increase if the membrane reaches the larynx. The membrane may also descend further into the lungs’ respiratory system.


Diphtheria is brought on by a kind of bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae. The disease is typically spread from person to person or when in contact with objects like cups or used tissues that have the bacteria on them. If you are close to someone who has diphtheria and they cough, sneeze, or blow their nose, you could also contract the disease.

An infected person can still spread the bacterial infection for up to six weeks after the initial infection, even if they don’t exhibit any diphtheria symptoms or signs.

Your nose and throat are typically infected by the bacteria. Toxins are harmful substances that the bacteria release once you are infected. These body parts frequently develop a thick, grey coating as a result of the toxins spreading throughout your bloodstream:

  • nose
  • sthroat
  • tongue
  • sairway
    These toxins can occasionally harm not only the kidneys but also the kidneys, brain, and heart. This may result in potentially fatal complications like:
  • Myocarditis known as heart inflammation
  • muscle paralysis
  • kidney failure

Risk factors

Diphtheria is uncommon in the United States and Europe because children there receive the vaccine against it on a regular basis. However, diphtheria is still fairly widespread in underdeveloped nations with low immunisation rates. People over 60 and children under 5 are especially vulnerable to contracting diphtheria in these nations.

Additionally, individuals are more likely to develop diphtheria if they:

  • are not current with their vaccinations
  • visit a nation that doesn’t offer immunization
  • an immune disorder like AIDS
  • lives in filthy or crowded conditions


A test to confirm the diagnosis can be ordered by a doctor if they have a suspicion of diphtheria. Testing entails swabbing the back of the throat or a skin ulcer, followed by an effort to cultivate a culture.

Frequently, they can tell if someone has diphtheria by looking at their signs and symptoms.

In light of the fact that bacterial cultures can take some time to develop, a doctor who suspects diphtheria might advise beginning therapy right away.


Two aspects of treatment are used to combat the effects of bacteria:

Antitoxin: Another name for this substance is anti-diphtheritic serum. It removes the toxins from the bacteria. To treat diphtheria that has affected the respiratory system, doctors use antitoxin.
Erythromycin or penicillin are antibiotics that can kill bacteria and stop them from proliferating.

After taking antibiotics for 48 hours, people are no longer contagiousReliable Source. But it’s crucial that someone takes their antibiotics all the way through.


Vaccination is among the most reliable methods of preventing diphtheria. To help prevent diphtheria infection, many nations, including the United States, routinely administer vaccines.

A purified toxin taken from a particular strain of the bacterium is used by pharmacists to create vaccines.

The following four vaccinations can aid in protecting against diphtheria:

  • DTaP: This offers protection from pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus.
  • DT: This offers tetanus and diphtheria protection.
  • Tdap: This offers a defense against pertussis, tetanus, and diphtheria.
  • Td: This offers tetanus and diphtheria protection.

At the ages listed below, infants should receive five doses of DTap:

  • 24 weeks
  • one year
  • sixty days
  • 15 to 18 months.
  • 4-6 years


So this article was about Diphtheria its Symptoms | Causes & Treatment if you have any questions or queries about this article so, leave them in the comment section.

The mucous membranes of the nose and throat are harmed by the dangerous bacterial infection known as diphtheria. Despite the ease with which it is contagious, diphtheria can be avoided by using vaccines.

If you think you might have diphtheria, call your doctor right away. Your nervous system, heart, and kidneys may suffer serious harm if it is not treated. Approximately 3% of cases result in death, according to the Mayo Clinic.


What does diphtheria do to humans?

A membrane develops across the windpipe as a result of the toxin’s infection of the upper airways and occasionally the skin. As a result, breathing becomes difficult, and if the membrane completely obstructs the windpipe, suffocation and death may result. Damage can also be done to the heart and nervous system.

Did adults get diphtheria?

Cases of the pediatric disease have drastically decreased since the introduction of the diphtheria vaccine. Diphtheria, however, has recently spread to the adult and adolescent populations, affecting people most frequently in their 40s and older.

What diseases are similar to diphtheria?

Clinically, toxic C. ulcerans infections and toxic Corynebacterium diphtheriae infections can both cause respiratory illnesses with symptoms resembling diphtheria. Both types of organisms have the ability to produce diphtheria toxin, which can cause a condition that needs to be treated right away with DAT and antibiotics.

How does diphtheria cause death?

Because the bacteria that cause it produces a potent toxin, diphtheria is dangerous (poison). The toxin destroys the cells in the throat, nose, and mouth. It doesn’t take long for the dead cells to accumulate and form a membrane that can attach to the throat and cause choking to occur.

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