Diphtheria causes & symptoms


Diphtheria is caused by the infection of Corynebacterium diphtheria. The infection is transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets, coughing or sneezing. It is also spread through sharing of tissues or cup/glass of an infected person. Diphtheria is a highly contagious infection that is transmitted from direct contact of an infected person. However, the infection may not spread from the infected person in the initial days of acquiring the infection.

The infection can be transmitted by the following means:

• Inhaling the cough droplets which an infected person has released in air.

• It can also be caused by touching the objects of the infected individual such as toys, tissues, glasses and so on.

• Rarely occurs by touching the sores or wound (skin lesions) of the infected person with cutaneous diphtheria.


Diphtheria infection produce symptoms after 2-5 days of acquiring the infection. Although, most individuals are asymptomatic on acquiring the infection, others do exhibit symptoms of common cold. The formation of a thick grey coating on the throat is common sign that differentiates diphtheria over other conditions.

The common signs and symptoms of diphtheria include:

• Swollen glands around the face and neck

• Fever

• Chills

• Sore throat

• Intense coughing

• Bluish skin

• Generalized weakness

• Uneasiness and discomfort

The signs and symptoms advanced stages of diphtheria infection include:

• Visual disturbances

• Slurred speech

• Difficulty in breathing

• Difficulty in swallowing

• Increased heartbeat

• Pale or skin discoloration

• The signs of cutaneous diphtheria include:

• Pain, redness and swelling of the skin

• Skin ulcers

    Courtesy: Med Life