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About Diphtheria

Diphtheria once was a major cause of illness and death among children. The U.S. recorded 206,000 cases of diphtheria in 1921, resulting in 15,520 deaths. Before there was treatment for diphtheria, up to half of the people who got the disease died from it.

Starting in the 1920s, diphtheria rates dropped quickly in the U.S. and other countries that began widely vaccinating. In the past decade, there were less than five cases of diphtheria in the U.S. reported to CDC. However, the disease continues to play a role globally. In 2011, 4,887 cases of diphtheria were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO), but there are likely many more cases.


sneeze
Causes and Transmission

Explains more about the bacteria that cause diphtheria and how they can spread from person-to-person…

sick in bed with thermometer
Symptoms

Lists typical symptoms of a diphtheria infection…

sick child and mother
Complications

Types of severe problems that can occur with a diphtheria infection…

doctor and child
Diagnosis and Treatment

Explains how diphtheria is diagnosed and treated…

getting a vaccine
Prevention

Lists ways to prevent diphtheria infection…

diphtheria bacteria
Photos

Photos of the bacteria that cause diphtheria and people with diphtheria infections…

diphtheria cartoon character
Kid-friendly Fact Sheet

Kid-friendly information and fact sheet.

 

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