Diphtheria is a throat infection which can very quickly lead to breathing difficulties. It is caused by bacteria that attack the lining of the nose, mouth and throat. It can damage the heart, and in some cases can lead to death. The illness is rare in countries with an immunisation programme.

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • difficulty breathing
  • bad breath
  • sleepiness
  • swollen glands
  • white patches on the tonsils
  • bark-like cough.

How is it spread?

Diptheria is spread in the air by droplets from an infected person when they sneeze or cough or from contact with skin of someone who is infectious or a carrier or less commonly from contaminated articles.


Immunisation is the best way of preventing diphtheria.