Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Diphtheria is spread (transmitted) from person to person, usually through respiratory droplets, like from coughing or sneezing. People in underdeveloped and developing countries are generally affected due to low vaccination rates. Certain strains of the bacterium produce a toxin that causes the serious complications of diphtheria.Some of the symptoms of diphtheria are similar to those of the common cold, but is characterised by the formation of a thick gray membrane over the back of the throat. In all infections that release the toxin, this can lead to complications of nerve damage, heart failure and, in around 5-10% of cases, death.
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