Lately, there has been a lot of news about the number of cases of death due to diphtheria increasing in one area in Indonesia. Is diphtheria a dangerous disease, and of course the answer is yes. In addition, diphtheria can be contagious.

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection of the nose and throat. Although it doesn't always cause symptoms, this disease is usually marked by the appearance of a gray membrane that lines the throat and tonsils.

Diphtheria is classified as a dangerous infectious disease and has a life-threatening risk. If left untreated, the bacteria that cause diphtheria can release toxins that damage the heart, kidneys or brain.

Causes of Diphtheria

Diphtheria is caused by an infection with the Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacteria. This infection can be transmitted through airborne particles, personal objects, contaminated household equipment, and touching wounds infected with diphtheria germs. Apart from diphtheria transmission, it can also occur through a person's saliva. Even if an infected person shows no signs or symptoms of diphtheria, they can still transmit the bacteria for up to six weeks after the initial infection.

Bacteria most often infect the nose and throat. Once infected, the bacteria release harmful substances called toxins which then spread through the bloodstream and cause a thick, gray coating. This layer is generally formed in the area of the nose, throat, tongue and airways. In some cases, these toxins can also damage other organs, including the heart, brain and kidneys, causing potentially life-threatening complications.

Diphtheria Risk Factors

• Visiting areas with low diphtheria immunization coverage

• Weak immune system, such as people with HIV/AIDS

• Unhealthy lifestyle

• Environments with poor hygiene and sanitation

• Children under 5 years of age and parents over 60 years of age

• Living in densely populated settlements

• Traveling to areas with high diphtheria cases

Diphtheria Symptoms

• Formation of a thin gray layer that covers the tonsils and throat

• Fever and chills

• Afternoon throat and hoarseness

• Difficulty breathing or fast breathing

• Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

• Weak and tired

• Colds that are runny at first, but can be mixed with blood

• Loud coughing

• Feeling of discomfort

• Impaired vision

• Slurred speech, and

• Signs of shock, such as cold, pale skin, sweating and fast heart beat

Diphtheria Prevention

Diphtheria can be prevented by taking the following steps:

• DPT immunization

Make sure the child receives the DPT immunization, which is the administration of the diphtheria vaccine combined with the tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis) vaccines. DPT immunization is one of the mandatory immunizations in Indonesia which is given at the age of 2, 3, 4, and 18 months, as well as the age of 5 years.

• Consultation with a doctor

Consult a doctor if your child has not received the DPT vaccine, especially if they are over 7 years old. The doctor will give the Tdap vaccine.

• Antibiotics

In addition to dealing with diphtheria, antibiotics can also be given to people who are in close contact with sufferers as prevention.

If you experience symptoms of diphtheria, don't delay to see a doctor to get the right diagnosis. Check yourself immediately before the condition gets worse and spreads to other people.


Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.