Diphtheria is an infectious disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae that most often results in respiratory disease with membranous inflammation of the pharynx, sore throat, fever, swollen glands, and weakness. The hallmark sign is a sheet of thick, gray material covering the back of the throat. Diphtheria can also manifest as cutaneous disease leading to nonspecific skin lesions. In advanced stages, diphtheria can damage the heart, kidneys, and nervous system. It is diagnosed via a culture of pharyngeal swabs and treated with antibiotic therapy and the diphtheria antitoxin.
Last updated: Jan 11, 2023
Key points to remember about diphtheria:
ABCDEFG: ADP-ribosylation, Beta-prophage, Corynebacterium diphtheriae, Elongation factor 2, Granules
Possible complications associated with diphtheria include:
The differential diagnosis of respiratory diphtheria includes:
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