Infectious diseases

Diphtheria


Diphtheria - causes, symptoms and treatment

Diphtheria is the strongest bacterial infection, the main clinical manifestations which are due to diphtheria toxin. Diphtheria affects the nose, throat and sometimes the skin, but in more serious cases can spread to the heart, kidneys and nervous system. The widespread use of DTP vaccine in the post-war years in many countries has largely eliminated the incidence of diphtheria and tetanus and significantly reduced the number of cases of whooping cough.

Causes of diphtheria

The causative agent of diphtheria — the bacterium, known as diphtheria toxin.

Exotoxin produced by toxigenic strains of Corynebacterium diphtheridae that enter the blood and cause destruction of tissue in the infected area, usually in the nasal cavity and mouth. Severe course of the disease, there is often severe intoxication, inflammation of the throat and respiratory tract. In addition, in the absence of timely treatment of diphtheria is fraught with serious complications — swelling of the throat and respiratory disorder, affecting the heart and kidneys, and nervous system.

Diphtheria is transmitted by airborne droplets from diphtheria patients or healthy bakterionositelej, in rare cases, through infected objects (such as clothes, toys or kitchenware).

Symptoms of diphtheria

Symptoms of diphtheriaDiphtheria is different, however, in all cases observed the following symptoms:

  • discharge from the nose, as in coryza;
  • swelling of the pharynx and larynx;
  • sore throat
  • swelling of the skin or eyes (this symptom is quite rare)
  • headache;
  • nausea
  • ulcers of skin
  • double vision
  • increase in cervical lymph nodes
  • breathing difficulties.

Consequences and complications of diphtheria

The treatment of diphtheria at an early stage ensures a full recovery, without any complications, although the length of treatment depends on the severity of the infection. In the absence of timely treatment can lead to serious complications, including heart that may lead to coma, paralysis or even death.

Treatment of diphtheria

In cases of suspected diphtheria or diagnosis of this infectious disease is emergency hospitalization, since the patient needs bed rest and careful nursing care. Special attention should be paid to nutrition, fluid intake, prevention of hypoxia.

To kill bacteria the patient prescribe antibiotics, and inoculated to prevent diphtheria in the future.

Prevention of diphtheria

The main and most effective way of preventing diphtheria is vaccination. The vaccine against diphtheria (toxoids) are administered in a single dose intramuscularly to children of younger and preschool children, older children and adults they can be inserted deep under the skin. Secondary injection of toxoids administered to children of school age, and repeat it in 10 years when the kids finish school (i.e. 16-18 years).