What is Diphtheria?
Diphtheria is a contagious bacterial disease that infects the nose, throat, or skin. Diphtheria causes a thick coating on the back of the throat that can cause breathing problems.
What is my risk?
Diphtheria is transmitted via airborne respiratory droplets or by direct contact with nasopharyngeal secretions of skin lesions. Overcrowding and poor living conditions can further contribute to the spread.
The prevention of diphtheria is best achieved through universal immunization with diphtheria toxoid-containing vaccines. Travellers to areas where diphtheria is endemic should review and update their vaccinations as necessary.
What are the symptoms?
Begin two to seven days after infection
Fever of 38C (100.4F) of above, chills, bluish skin coloration (cyanosis), sore throat, hoarseness, cough, fatigue, headache, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, foul-smelling bloodstained nasal discharge
May also include an irregular heartbeat, inflammation of the heart muscle, and cranial and peripheral nerve palsies.