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3a.1 What is diptheria, and what are the risks of the disease?




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This article is from the Childhood Vaccinations FAQ, by Lynn Gazis-Sax lynng@alsirat.com with numerous contributions by others.

3a.1 What is diptheria, and what are the risks of the disease?

Diptheria is a contagious disease affecting the nose, throat, and
skin. Complications include paralysis (about 20% of patients) and
heart damage (about 50%) (Pantell, Fries, and Vickery). The Merck
manual has a very long list of complications, mostly involving the
heart, and says that complications are likely if antitoxin isn't
administered properly. The death rate was 35% before antitoxin was
available, and is now 10% (Harrison).

 

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