What is Diphtheria?


Diphtheria is an infection caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae which affects the throat, nose or skin.  It is transmitted from person to person through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes or via direct contact. 

Some strains of this bacteria produce an exotoxin which makes people sick.  Incubation period is about 1 to 10 days.  Symptoms can include sore throat, swollen neck lymph nodes, difficulty swallowing & breathing, skin lesions, and heart & nervous system complications.

There are combination vaccines that protect against diphtheria.




Vaccine names: Adacel, Adacel-Polio, Boostrix, Boostrix-Polio

Minimum age: 4 years

Primary series: Infants & children receive 4 dose series with routine immunization programs. Adults not previously immunized receive at least 3 doses.

Boosters: Every 10 years