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1. What is diphtheria?
Corynebacterium diphtheriae is the bacteria that causes diphtheria which is an infectious disease. It causes infection in the throat and upper respiratory tract. The toxins produced by the bacteria may affect other organs of the body.
2. What are the symptoms of diphtheria?
Diphtheria affects mainly the upper respiratory tract. But the toxin produced by the bacteria affects the entire body. The following are the common symptoms of diphtheria: swelling around the neck, sore throat, weakness, fever, difficulty to swallow and difficulty to breathe.
3. How is diphtheria diagnosed?
The doctors usually diagnose the disease based on the symptoms. The doctor will take a throat swab and send it to a pathology laboratory. The doctor will confirm diphtheria if the microbial culture of the throat swab shows the growth of the bacteria that causes diphtheria. The doctors may collect the samples from the lesions or sores on the throats to check the presence of the bacteria.
4. How does diphtheria spread?
As known to be a highly contagious, diphtheria can spread from one person to another. Usually, it spreads from contact with the infected respiratory droplets. If you touch the infected objects, you may catch the diphtheria infection. It is spread by contact with the infected discharges from the ear, nose and throat of a person having diphtheria.
5. Is a vaccine available for diphtheria?
Yes, diphtheria vaccine is included in the immunization schedule for the children. In India it is available as a combination vaccine with two other diseases, pertussis and tetanus. The vaccination schedule recommends three doses of vaccine in the early infant age and two booster doses.