Diphtheria is an acute bacterial disease that usually affects the tonsils, throat, nose and/or skin. It is passed from person to person by droplet transmission, usually by breathing in diphtheria bacteria after an infected person has coughed or sneezed. Diphtheria can lead to breathing problems, heart failure, paralysis and sometimes death. Diphtheria was a serious affliction in the Victorian period, with mortality rates of around 30%. The Manchester Public Health Laboratory played an important role in developing swab tests to diagnose the infection. Diphtheria cases were treated in isolation hospitals; the disease was originally treated by an antitoxin made from horse's blood; in later years antibiotics as well as antitoxins were used in treatment. Diphtheria is now a rare disease in the UK due to widespread vaccination.
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- ReferenceGB 133 MMC/15/9
- Former ReferenceGB 133 O 5 h
- Dates of Creation1891-
- Physical Description7 items