Diphtheria is a potentially fatal infection that develops in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat, as well as on the skin. Corynebacterium diphtheriae is the bacteria that causes it. This bacterium transmits easily from person to person, either in minute droplets in the air or on surfaces. Infected people are highly contagious until 48 hours after commencing antibiotic treatment.
Diphtheria is virtually completely eradicated in developed countries like the UK, because of high immunisation rates. You’re only at danger in these countries if you don’t have the diphtheria vaccine.
Diphtheria is still a deadly and prevalent infection in many parts of the world. It may be more difficult to obtain health care and immunizations in disadvantaged areas. Furthermore, individuals live in close quarters and have limited access to sanitation, allowing the disease to spread more quickly.
Here, we’ll discuss what is diphtheria and what are its causes.
What is Diphtheria?
Diphtheria was named in 1826; however, the disease has been around for much longer. Diphtheria bacteria are distinct in that they create a poison that kills your cells. This makes it more dangerous than other bacterial infections.
Thousands of new cases of diphtheria are still recorded each year around the world, and researchers believe it is underreported in the nations with the greatest infection rates.
What are the signs of Diphtheria?
The diphtheria bacteria begin to generate a toxin in significant numbers when it multiplies in the mucous membranes of your nose and throat. This toxin kills your cells and generates a thick grey membrane out of dead cells, germs, waste particles, and proteins, which is known as a pseudomembrane.
This viscous substance can cover the tissues of your nose, tonsils, voice box, and the remainder of your throat. It’s the most noticeable symptom of diphtheria, and it can make breathing difficult. The toxin can enter your bloodstream through your neck and cause substantial harm to various tissues and organs throughout your body.
Some of the major signs of diphtheria are-
- Swollen glands
- Sore throat
- Nasal discharge
- Difficulty in breathing, etc.
Diphtheria can affect your skin as well. The skin becomes sore, red, and swollen as a result of this infection. Although your skin may develop ulcers with a thick grey layer, this infection should not cause any other issues, such as organ damage.
How to treat Diphtheria?
Anti-toxins will be provided to you right away to battle the toxin produced by the bacteria, either by injection or intravenously (with an IV). You’ll also need to take an antibiotic, most likely penicillin, to eliminate any germs left in your system.
If you’re diagnosed with diphtheria, your doctor will need to treat everyone in your immediate family. This will entail ensuring that they all have the diphtheria vaccine and, if necessary, giving them booster shots. Antibiotics will also be provided to prevent the germs from spreading.
Hopefully, this article will help you gain all the important information about diphtheria.