What Is Diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a disease that is caused by the bacteria named Corynebacterium Diphtheriae and affects the throat, nose, tonsils and the skin the most. This is one of the many illnesses that spread quickly because of its contiguous characteristic trait. It can spread through the usage of the material that has been used by the infected person or by direct contact. Face to face communication is also considered to be one of the ways of its propagation. Although rare in its occurrence, this disease has the potential to cause a huge loss of human resources, especially of the infants. Statistically, about 10-20 percent cases of diphtheria result in deaths.

Nowadays, there are proper vaccinations provided for the prevention of it. This is a major reason for its rare occurrence. It is still prominent in areas where the vaccinations are not present. The major areas of concern are those where there are improper hygienic conditions or those which are crowded. Both these places are known to high risk zones, going wherein should be done only after having a booster shot of the DTaP vaccination. Some time ago, ignorance to these had led to the breakage of an epidemic of diphtheria causing high infant casualties.

Diphtheria is an illness that can be mistaken for a normal cold with some soreness in the throat followed by fever. These symptoms remain for a period of a week after which the actual symptoms come up. One can witness swelling in the neck region with the formation of a thick gray membrane in the back of the neck. The symptom just mentioned is the best confirmation for the presence of Diphtheria. As mentioned earlier, this disease should not be taken lightly; some of the many problems that can be caused due to it are partial paralysis in the regions of the eye, nose and the throat. One can also experience heart attacks as the respiratory system is targeted by this bacterium.

The treatment of diphtheria can be done if appropriate and adequate antibiotics are made available to the infected person in time. Penicillin and Erythromycin are used to help kill the replication of the bacteria inside the body and to clean up the infection. Delays in the treatment can be fatal. The whole process takes about 10-15 days to complete. It is advised to keep the patient in seclusion due to the fear of it spreading to others. Once the treatment is complete, booster shots are given as in the case of tetanus to help increase the immunization against future risks. The concept of these shots is pretty common in children and adults both.

DTaP as the shot is known is taken every 10 years in the case of adults whereas for the children it is given at regular intervals till the age of 5 yrs is reached. It is administered with the help of a syringe and injected into the muscles of the human body. Most of the countries facilitate the citizens with it at regular intervals.