Diphtheria spreads through the air, by direct contact with infected person, the so called carrier who spreads the disease even before getting the symptoms, during the infection and even 2-3 weeks after getting better. 2 Bacteria are present on mucous membranes of the infected person but also on the skin (e.g. after sneezing or wiping the nose). Contamination through infected food, containers, cutlery is rare. You can get diphtheria by visiting areas where this disease is endemic (e.g. former Soviet Union countries) or by contacting people who came back from such areas. If appropriate treatment is not be introduced in appropriate time, diphtheria toxin reaches heart or nervous system with blood, which leads to severe complications. Bacterial toxins may lead to cardiac muscle inflammation, cranial and peripheral nerves palsy, and circulatory insufficiency; sometimes they destroy liver and kidneys.
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