What is Diphtheria? Symptoms and treatment

Diphtheria, the most serious and common childhood disease, is an infectious disease. Avian paralysis, which is easily transmitted from person to person through inhalation, becomes rarer with age. In this content we have answered questions such as what is diphtheria, what causes it, what are the symptoms, how it passes and what is the treatment like.

What is Diphtheria?

Diphtheria, known medically as “Crow’s Corn”, is a contagious and potentially serious infectious disease. Diphtheria, a bacterial infection, usually affects the respiratory tract, causing discomfort and inflammation in the throat and tonsils. Lesions can also be seen on the skin. Diphtheria is a life-threatening disease, especially in children and individuals with weakened immune systems.

Diphtheria is caused by a bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae. The disease is usually transmitted from person to person through close contact. When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, airborne droplets increase the risk of transmission to other people. It can also cause carriers of the disease to infect those who are not infected.

Diphtheria Symptoms


Diphtheria is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Symptoms of the disease usually occur as a result of contact with an infected person and can vary depending on the severity of the disease. Diphtheria is a serious health problem that can be life-threatening, especially for children and individuals with weakened immune systems. These are the symptoms of diphtheria:

Sore throat and difficulty swallowing

The most common symptom of diphtheria is severe sore throat. The diphtheria lining of the tonsils and throat can cause difficulty swallowing and even difficulty breathing.


Another common symptom of a diphtheria infection is fever. The body temperature rises and a high fever may occur.

Weakness and fatigue

Diphtheria can cause toxins to build up in the body, which can lead to weakness and fatigue.

Swelling in neck lymph nodes

The disease can cause swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck area. This causes swelling and tenderness in the neck area.

Diphtheria Membrane

Diphtheria infection can cause a gray-white thick coating in the throat and tonsils. This layer is called the diphtheria membrane and can block the airways in the throat, causing difficulty breathing.

Breathing difficulties

Because the diphtheria membrane covers the airways, patients may have difficulty breathing. Breathing difficulties are a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Skin lesions

Diphtheria can also cause skin ulcers. Open sores or crusted lesions may appear on the skin.

How is diphtheria (crow’s corn) transmitted?


Diphtheria is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Transmission of the disease occurs through contact with infected individuals and can usually occur through airborne droplets or through contact with infected surfaces. Diphtheria is common, especially in densely populated residential areas and areas with poor sanitary conditions. Here’s more information about how diphtheria is transmitted:

Pollution by airborne droplets

Diphtheria can be easily transmitted through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. If someone with diphtheria is nearby and that person coughs or sneezes, another person can become infected by breathing in airborne droplets or by contacting the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose.

Transfer through personal contact

Diphtheria can also be transmitted through close contact with an infected person. This close contact can come from direct contact such as kissing or cuddling. There is a possibility of transmission from the mouth and nose secretions or skin lesions of an infected person.

Transmission through contact with infected surfaces

Bacteria that cause diphtheria can settle on surfaces where droplets appear when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These surfaces include toys, doorknobs, tabletops and other common areas. If a person comes into contact with infected surfaces and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes, they may be at increased risk of developing diphtheria.

Infection with skin wounds

Diphtheria can also be transmitted through contact with the skin sores of an infected person. Using the same objects as an infected person or tools used to clean skin wounds can contribute to the spread of the disease.

Diphtheria is usually transmitted from an infected person and the risk of transmission can vary depending on the person’s immune status and environmental conditions. At the same time, carriers of diphtheria can transmit the disease to others without showing any symptoms. For this reason, health authorities and public health organizations attach great importance to hygiene measures and vaccination to prevent diphtheria and other infectious diseases.

Diphtheria treatment


Diphtheria is a serious infectious disease caused by a bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It is important to treat diphtheria, to diagnose the infection at an early stage and to intervene quickly. Treatment of diphtheria usually involves the use of antibiotics and antitoxin serum. In addition, supportive measures are applied taking into account the patient’s symptoms and general health.

Treatment with antibiotics

When treating diphtheria, antibiotics help prevent the growth and spread of bacteria caused by the infection. Antibiotics given in the early stages can stop the spread of the disease and prevent complications. Depending on the severity of the infection and the patient’s health, doctors usually prefer antibiotics such as penicillin or erythromycin.

Antitoxin Serum

Toxins caused by diphtheria can spread the disease and cause serious complications. To neutralize the effects of these toxins, diphtheria antitoxin serum is used. Antitoxin serum contains antibodies specific to diphtheria and helps to quickly reduce the effects of toxins in the body. To increase the effectiveness of the treatment, antitoxin serum should be administered when the infection is diagnosed in the early period and according to the severity of the disease.

Supportive treatment

Some people with diphtheria, especially those with breathing difficulties, may be hospitalized. Respiratory support and oxygen can be given to patients being treated in hospital. In addition, supportive measures are also applied, such as regulating the patients’ body fluids and electrolyte balance, meeting their nutritional needs and providing a comfortable environment.

Diphtheria can usually be controlled with prompt treatment. However, if treatment is delayed or inadequate, diphtheria can cause serious complications and even death. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that people who show signs of diphtheria seek immediate medical attention and receive appropriate treatment.

Diphtheria (Crow’s Corn) vaccine

As with other childhood illnesses, the body does not become immune to this microbe if the illness is experienced. One of the most important elements of protection against diphtheria disease is vaccination and ensuring vaccine continuity.


The diphtheria vaccine is given as a mixed vaccine. These childhood vaccines also come in the form of 5 vaccines that protect against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, polio, and Hib.

This type of vaccination should be started at 2 months of age and continuity of the vaccine should be ensured at the 4th, 6th and 18th months. Because the diphtheria vaccine does not provide lifelong protection, adults should have the vaccine repeated every 10 years.

What does diphtheria mean?

This condition is caused by a bacteria called Corynebacterium Diphtheriae. Diphtheria, an inflammatory airway disease, is transmitted from person to person through close contact.

Why is diphtheria disease called bird paralysis?

This disease is known in our country thanks to the book Kağız by Ömer Seyfettin. To treat the disease, freshly reared bird corpses were placed in the patient’s throat. Therefore, the name of the disease remained bird paralysis.

Where does diphtheria occur?

Diphtheria mainly affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose. This disease, caused by microorganisms, is common in children. It is less common in adults.

Do you still have diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a disease that has disappeared in our country thanks to the vaccine. Diphtheria, which is rarely seen in vaccine-produced areas, is still common in countries where there is no vaccine. In our country, it is rarely seen due to the increasing resistance to vaccines.

How to prevent diphtheria?

The most effective way to prevent diphtheria is to get vaccinated. Routine immunity is achieved with the diphtheria vaccine. In this way, the transmission of the disease is prevented. In addition, the incidence of the disease is reduced.

How is diphtheria transmitted?

Diphtheria can be transmitted very easily, just like respiratory diseases. The disease can be easily transmitted from person to person through droplets, close physical contact, or contact with objects.

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