Diphtheria is an acute infectious disease caused by Corynebat- erbium diphtheria. It is a Gram positive rod shaped bacteria. It affects mostly children in the early school years.
There is fever with prostration. Characteristic patches of membrane appear on the tonsils, pharynx and larynx. These patches are greyish or yellow in color. All these effects occur due to the exotoxin produced by the bacteria.
The source of infection is a case or carrier. It is transmitted mainly by droplet infection. Transmission through fomites is also possible. The route of transmission is mainly respiratory tract.
Acute cases are treated with diphtheria antitoxin at doses of 10000 to 50000 units. Suitable antibiotics like penicillin or erythromycin should be given.
Prevention is by immunization with DPT. It must be given at 6th, 10th and 14th month of a child. A booster dose is given at years. At 5 years DT is given.
The steps to be taken during outbreak of the disease are:
1. Notification to health authorities.
2. Isolation of the patient at home or hospital
3. Exclusion of contact children from school for at least 2 weeks.