Now let's cover diphtheria.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the throat and the upper airways.
This produces a toxin that can infect other organs.
There's an acute onset of symptoms including a sore throat, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.
A membrane or a pseudomembrane will develop in the throat making it difficult for the patient to breathe.
This can be life-threatening and it is vaccine preventable.
The etiology. This is caused by the bacterium, Corynebacterium diphtheria.
It usually multiplies on or near the surface of the mucous membranes of the throat.
It's spread via three routes. The first is droplets.
Patients can sneeze and cough and expel these droplets into the air.
They can also share these via contaminated personal items like their own wounds on their skin,
used tissues or drinking from the same glass.
Also, after the patient has coughed there droplets, this can also settle on towels, toys
and other contaminated household items.
Infected patients can spread the bacteria to nonimmune people for up to six weeks
even while they're asymptomatic.
So what happens in the pathology of diphtheria?
Well, there's a release of a toxin there's gonna be local growth of the bacterium
into the pharynx with a pseudomembrane forming.
And this is a combination of fibrin, white blood cells, bacteria and dead surface-tissue cells.
The areas most commonly involved are of the tonsillar zones.
The larynx which is the voicebox, the soft pallet, the uvula
and even in the nose and the nasal cavities.
This pseudomembrane is going to adhere so tightly it cannot be scraped off by the clinician.
There will be blockage of the airways by the pseudomembrane,
and this is the deadly complication of diphtheria.
There can be systemic dissemination of this toxin that's going to then spread to the distant organs.
The incubation time is about 27 days after exposure.
So, the patients don't even remember where they could've possibly picked this up.