Since Death Toll rises in Delhi it’s high time now to know about Diphtheria and ways to prevent it as it is highly contagious in nature and potentially life threatening .Diphtheria is an acute infectious disease caused by the bacterial microorganism known as Corynebacterium diphtheria. C. diphtheriae is an irregularly staining, Gram-positive,nonmotile pleomorphic bacillus. Strains of C. diphtheriae may be toxic or nontoxic. The ability to produce toxin is mediated by bacteriophage infections of the bacterium and is not related to colony type .Strains of this bacterium produce a toxin, and it is this toxin that causes local tissue destruction and most serious complications of diphtheria.
The toxins spread through your bloodstream and often cause a thick, gray coating to form in these areas of the body i.e. nose or throat. However, in advanced stages, diphtheria can damage your heart, kidneys and nervous system. Even with treatment, diphtheria can be deadly “Up to 3 percent of people who get diphtheria die of it” sources
.Patients who have probable or confirmed respiratory diphtheria are eligible to receive DAT. Clinical respiratory diphtheria can be characterized as an upper respiratory tract illness characterized by throat pain, a slight fever, adherent membrane on the tonsils and nasopharyn .In its early stages, diphtheria may be mistaken for a severe sore throat. Another presentation of diphtheria can be skin lesions that may be painful, red and swollen. Symptoms usually appear 2 to 4 days after infection, with a range of 1 to 6 days.
How to Cure?
Diphtheria is also cured with antibiotics, such as penicillin or erythromycin. Antibiotics kill bacteria in the body, clearing up infections. Diphtheria vaccine is a vaccine against C. diphtheriae, the bacterium that causes diphtheria. Its use has resulted in a more than 90% decrease in number of cases globally between 1980 and 2010. The time taken to recover from this disease is mostly 7 to 10 days. Sometimes there are lasting complications such as arthritis, paralysis, or brain damage. Cutaneous diphtheria is not as serious as other forms, but it does not take more than 3 months to recover. The best way to prevent diphtheria is to get vaccinated. Each of these vaccines prevents diphtheria and tetanus i.e. DTaP and Tdap also help prevent the disease