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3992 Diphtheria



This is a serious bacterial infection that affects the mucous membranes of one's nose and throat. It usually causes a sore throat, fever, weakness, and swollen glands. The infection causes a grey to a black, fiber-like covering which can block one's airways making it difficult to breathe. In some cases, diphtheria can affect the skin and cause skin lesions. However, in advanced stages, diphtheria can cause damage to the heart, kidneys and nervous system.

What are the signs and symptoms of Diphtheria?

When the bacteria affect the mucous membrane of the throat and nose, the below common signs and symptoms begin to appear two to five days after the person becomes infected.

  • Sore throat and croakiness
  • Very painful swallowing
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • A thick grey membrane covering one's throat and tonsils
  • Trouble breathing or rapid breathing
  • Fever, chills, and nasal discharge
  • Malaise

If the bacteria affects the skin, these are the signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Pain, redness, and swelling associated with other skin infections
  • Ulcers covered by a sticky, grey membrane

Note: There may be no symptoms. Infected people who remain unaware of their illness are known carriers of Diphtheria because they can spread the infection without being sick themselves.

People who are susceptible to this illness include:

  • Adults and children who are not vaccinated against the bacteria¬†
  • Individuals living in crowded or unhygienic conditions
  • Individuals with a weak immune system
  • People who travel to areas where Diphtheria is common

See your doctor if you're not sure whether you or your child has been vaccinated against Diphtheria!

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