I'm not sure if there's a topic about this already, but I realized how interesting Diphtheria was once I researched it for a project at school. Here's some information [I tried to make it understandable. I didn't include any images, seeing as I'm not sure how many people would like to see what happens [It's quite disturbing ;] ]]
--What is it?
An acute infectious disease caused by the bacillus Corynebacterium diphtheriae, characterized by the production of a systemic toxin and the formation of a false membrane on the lining of the mucous membrane of the throat and other respiratory passages, causing difficulty in breathing, high fever, and weakness. The toxin is particularly harmful to the tissues of the heart and central nervous system.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection which is caused by strands of bacillus corynebacterium diphtheriae. People under the age of 5 and over age of 60 are at more of a risk at getting this disease, as well as people living in unclean/crowded areas or living with malnourishment. It effects the heart and the central nervous system, also effecting respiratory systems.Symptoms:
- A sore throat
- Problems/Difficulty swallowing
- A runny nose
- Neck/Gland swelling
- A greyish-black film covers your throat/noseOther things that may occur:
If you do not treat Diphtheria right away, you may develop severe problems, such as:
- Cardiac Arrest [Heart Attacks]
- Paralysis in the eye, neck, throat, or respiratory muscles
- Inflamation of the heart muscle [Myocarditis]How it is contracted [passed on]:
- Being coughed on by an infected individual
- Touching tissues, cloths, towels, toys, or other items that have been contaminated by the disease
- Touching the open wound of an infected individualCures/Treatment:
In the 1880s, an antitoxin was developed for vicims of this disease, although it didn't fully kill off all that bacteria that Diphtheria produced. It merely calmed the bacteria down, neutralizing it. In 1923, a real cure was created that killed off the bacteria instead of making the disease dormant.
There is also a vaccine that you can recieve that can prevent this disease from occuring.
If Diphtheria happens to spread to your heart, kidneys, or central nervous system, you may need to use other cures, such as heart medications and oxygen.
People with Diphtheria may also need a ventilator to help them breathe, seeing as some of the effects make it difficult to withdraw air.
If someone has Diphtheria, they will be hospilatized and isolated from human contact. If there are any individuals who usually spend a lot of time around the victim and have yet to recieve their immunization shots, or if there are any very young or elderly relatives, they must be kept away from the infected person at all times.
When a person contracts Diphtheria, the hospital will contact the local health department, who will treat every member of the victim's family with preventions and cures, such as a booster of the Diphtheria vaccine. The family will then recieve antibiotics, just to be on the safe side of things.
After the victim is treated for Diphtheria, they will need about 4-6 weeks of bedrest, or until they are completley recovered. This is extremley important for the infected individual, especially if their case of Diphtheria came with a heart infection.History of Diphtheria:
Diphtheria was named by a French man in 1826. He named it after the latin word 'Diphthera' which mean 'leather'. This fits one of the larger symtoms of the disease [a grey film covers your throat and nose, making it hard to swallow/breathe].
There was a large outbreak of Diphtheria in New England, the epidemic taking place during the years of 1735-1740 [possibly killed 80% of children under ten years of age in various villages]
In the 1920s, 100,000 – 200,000 people living in the United States were infected with Diphtheria, ending with an estimated 13,000 – 15,000 deaths.
There were approx. 2,000 victims of Diphtheria in the year 1991 in the USSR.
In 1998, there was an estimated 200,000 infected bodies in the Commonwealth of Independent States, resulting in around 5,000 deaths.Resources:
- http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/yellowBookCh ... heria.aspx
- http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/infect ... heria.html
- http://www.kidshealth.org/PageManager.j ... _id=20028&