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What is Diphtheria? (

Diphtheria is a serious infection caused by strains of bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae that make a toxin (poison). It is the toxin that can cause people to get very sick.

Diphtheria bacteria spread from person to person, usually through respiratory droplets, like from coughing or sneezing.  People can also get sick from touching infected open sores or ulcers.


  • Weakness
  • Sore throat
  • Mild fever
  • Swollen glands in the neck


  • Transmission is most often person-to-person spread from the respiratory tract. Rarely, transmission may occur from skin lesions or articles soiled with discharges from lesions of infected persons (fomites).

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How Can I Prevent Diphtheria?

  • The main way to prevent yourself from getting infected by this terrible disease is to simply, Get Vaccinated!
    • Several vaccines protect against diphtheria, all of which protect against other diseases:
      • DTaP protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough)
      • DT protects against diphtheria and tetanus
      • Tdap protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis
      • Td protects against tetanus and diphtheria


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