What GPs can do as diphtheria re-emerges

Two recent hospitalisations of Australian children for diphtheria is cause for alarm, says a leading infectious diseases physician.

Speaking on a recent Healthed Going Viral podcast, clinical microbiologist Associate Professor Paul Griffin said diphtheria was a disease ‘thought to be confined to the history books.’

However, these recent notifications prove the bacterial disease is still in existence and the fact the children needed to be hospitalised showed it was still potentially a serious disease.

Diphtheria is transmitted like most other respiratory bacterial infections and usually manifests with common respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat and fevers.

But where diphtheria differs from other respiratory pathogens is that it can produce a ‘really nasty toxin’ and it’s that toxin that can lead to the more severe manifestations of this disease including the formation of a ...

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