Diphtheria, Diphtheria Vaccine, Symptoms and treatment of Diphtheria Disease
Diphtheria Vaccine Information
Diphtheria is a very contagious and potentially life-threatening bacterial disease. Children are the ones who are commonly affected by this disease. Diphtheria starts with a slight fever which may rise to l02°P. The throat may show a deep red color in the beginning but in a day or two a greyish skin will be seen about the tonsils. Diphtheria is re-emerging in some areas of the world where immunization practices are lax. Routine vaccination of both children and adults is essential to prevent the re-emergence of diphtheria in the United States.
An early diagnosis of diphtheria is of utmost importance to save a child's life. Therefore whenever a child appears to be ill with fever complains of a pain in the throat, seems dull and apathetic send for a physician immediately to examine her.
What is the infectious agent that causes diphtheria?
Diphtheria is caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, a bacterium. The bacterium produces a toxin (poison) that is carried in the bloodstream. As the infection progresses, the person may:
- have difficulty breathing or swallowing
- complain of double vision
- have slurred speech
- even show signs of going into shock (skin that's pale and cold, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and an anxious appearance)
Treatment of Diphtheria
As soon as you suspect a case of diphtheria call your doctor at once. Diphtheria is a medical emergency. A delay in treatment can result in death or long-term heart disease. A person with diphtheria should be hospitalized until fully recovered. The person should be given a medicine (diphtheria antitoxin) to fight the diphtheria poison and antibiotics to fight the diphtheria bacteria. The only known medicine for this disease is anti diphtheria serum and the earlier it is injected into the body of the child the greater are her chances of survival. If the disease has broken out into your neighborhood have your child inoculated with diphtheria toxic immediately and forbid her from going anywhere near the patient.