Corynebacterium diphtheria is the causative agent of diphtheria. Corynebacterium diphtheria is a nonencapsulated, nonmotile, gram-positive bacillus that appears club-shaped. The predisposing factor for this disease is the failure to immunize during childhood. It mainly affects the respiratory system, integumentary system, or be present in an asymptomatic carrier state. Humans are the only hosts of the organism and are present in the upper respiratory tract. The organisms are transmitted via airborne droplets.
Exotoxins production is the key to the pathogenesis of the organism. The disease occurs mostly in the tropics but is prevalent worldwide with cases rarely seen in the United States. Patients present with the thick, gray, adherent pseudomembrane over the tonsils and throat. Diagnosis mainly involves isolating the organism, culturing the organism, and slowing toxin production. Management involves isolating the patient and treating with the antitoxin and antibiotics. Diphtheria vaccination is present in the regular vaccination schedule with diphtheria toxoid, which is given as a combination of diphtheria & tetanus toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP).
Diphtheria is a serious infection caused by strains of bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae that make toxin (poison). It can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, and even death. CDC recommends vaccines for infants, children, teens, and adults to prevent diphtheria.