Diphtheria Symptoms

Diphtheria signs and symptoms usually begin two to five days after a person becomes infected and may include:

• A thick, gray membrane covering your throat and tonsils

• A sore throat and hoarseness

• Swollen glands (enlarged lymph nodes) in your neck

• Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing

• Nasal discharge

• Fever and chills

• Malaise

In some people, infection with diphtheria-causing bacteria causes only a mild illness — or no obvious signs and symptoms at all. Infected people who remain unaware of their illness are known as carriers of diphtheria, because they can spread the infection without being sick themselves.

Skin (cutaneous) Diphtheria:

A second type of diphtheria can affect the skin, causing pain, redness and swelling similar to other bacterial skin infections. Ulcers covered by a gray membrane also may be skin diphtheria.

Although it is more common in tropical climates, diphtheria on the skin also occurs in the United States, particularly among people with poor hygiene who live in crowded conditions.

    Courtesy: Mayo Clinic