Recently, there has been a lot of news in the news that the death toll due to diphtheria is on the rise in one of the regions in Indonesia. Whether diphtheria is a dangerous disease, and of course the answer is yes. In addition, this diphtheria disease can be contagious.

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection of the nose and throat. Although it does not always cause symptoms, the disease is usually characterized by the appearance of a gray membrane lining the throat and tonsils.

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

Causes of Diphtheria

Diphtheria is caused by infection with the bacterium Corynebacterium diphteriae. This infection can be transmitted through airborne particles, personal objects, contaminated household appliances, as well as touching wounds infected with diphtheria germs. In addition to the transmission of diphtheria 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 up to six weeks after the initial infection.

Bacteria most often infect parts of the nose and throat. After infecting, the bacteria release a harmful substance called a toxin that then spreads through the bloodstream and causes 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, potentially leading to life-threatening complications.

Diphtheria Risk Factors

  • Visiting areas with low diphtheria immunization coverage
  • Weakened immune system, such as people with HIV/AIDS
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Environment with poor hygiene and sanitation
  • Children under the age of 5 and the elderly over the age of 60
  • Living in densely populated settlements
  • Traveling to areas with high diphtheria cases


Symptoms of Diphtheria

  • The formation of a thin gray layer covering the tonsils and throat
  • Fever and chills
  • Sore throat and hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
  • Swollen lymph nodes of the neck
  • Limp and tired
  • Colds that are initially liquid, but can get to the point of mixing with blood
  • Violent cough
  • Discomfort
  • Visual impairment
  • Talk goes, and
  • Signs of shock, such as pale and cold skin, sweating, and rapid heart palpitations

Diphtheria Prevention

Diphtheria can be prevented by making the following attempts:

  • DPT immunization
    Make sure the child receives DPT immunization, which is the administration of diphtheria vaccine combined with tetanus vaccine and whooping cough (pertussis). DPT immunization is one of the mandatory immunizations in Indonesia given at the age of 2, 3, 4, and 18 months, as well as the age of 5 years.
  • Consult a doctor Consult a doctor
    if the child has not received the DPT vaccine, especially if it is more than 7 years old. The doctor will give the Dap vaccine.
  • Antibiotics
    In addition to treating diphtheria, antibiotics can also be given to people who are in close contact with sufferers as prevention.

If you experience symptoms of diphtheria, do not delay to see a doctor to get the right diagnosis. Get checked immediately before the condition gets worse and spreads to others.

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