Diphtheria is a contagious illness caused by a type of bacteria. It
can cause breathing and swallowing problems and can damage the heart and
central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
Diphtheria, though rare, can be fatal if not treated.
The DTaP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccine, given in
childhood, protects against diphtheria infection. Tdap and Td vaccines are
booster shots that give continued protection to teens and adults.
March 30, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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