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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What causes diphtheria?
Diphtheria is an illness caused by infection with Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacteria. The bacteria infect the airways and multiply there, and release a dangerous toxin that may cause damage to major organs of the body.
Who gets diphtheria?
Anyone can get diphtheria. People at increased risk are unvaccinated people, children, people in areas where the disease is still found and people with weakened immune systems.
How is diphtheria diagnosed?
Diphtheria is initially diagnosed by the symptoms. A final diagnosis is made by testing throat swabs and/or skin samples.
How is diphtheria treated?
Diphtheria is treated with diphtheria antitoxin to neutralize the toxin and with antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria.
How is diphtheria spread?
Diphtheria is spread by droplets spread into the air by sneezing and coughing.
About this article
Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 03 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 14 May 2019
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Votes: 1470 (Click smiley face below left to rate)