Diphtheria (dif-THEER-e-uh) is a serious bacterial infection, usually affecting the mucous membranes of your nose and throat. Diphtheria typically causes a bad sore throat, fever, swollen glands and weakness. But the hallmark sign is a thick, gray covering in the back of your throat that can make breathing difficult. Diphtheria can also infect your skin.
Years ago, diphtheria was a leading cause of death among children. Today, diphtheria is very rare in the United States and other developed countries thanks to widespread vaccination against the disease.
Medications are available to treat diphtheria. However, in advanced stages, diphtheria can cause damage to your heart, kidneys and nervous system. Even with treatment, diphtheria can be deadly — nearly one out of every 10 people who get diphtheria die of it.
Taken from www.mayoclinic.com
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