Diphtheria is an acute infectious disease caused by the toxin-producing bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It usually affects the respiratory tract (primarily the larynx, tonsils and throat). It may also affect the skin, and the toxin produced by this bacteria can damage the nerves and heart. The disease is now rare in many parts of the world because of widespread immunization.
Last reviewed 2/1/2012 by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., and Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine.
- The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.
- A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.
- Call 911 for all medical emergencies.
- Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.
Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.