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Diphtheria

Diphtheria is a contagious illness caused by a type of bacteria. It can cause breathing and swallowing problems and can damage the heart and central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

Diphtheria, though rare, can be fatal if not treated.

The DTaP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccine, given in childhood, protects against diphtheria infection. Tdap and Td vaccines are booster shots that give continued protection to teens and adults.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Current as of March 27, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 27, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.