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Immunizations

Diphtheria is an acute infectious disease caused by the toxin-producing bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It usually affects the respiratory tract (primarily the larynx, tonsils and throat). It may also affect the skin, and the toxin produced by this bacteria can damage the nerves and heart. The disease is now rare in many parts of the world because of widespread immunization.


Review Date: 8/27/2010
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine (1/25/2010).
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