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Second case of diphtheria emerges in NSW, Australia

Diphtheria is a contagious bacterial infection caused by toxin-producing strains of Corynebacterium diphtheriae and Corynebacterium ulcerans. In some cases, it can be life-threatening.

Diphtheria was a common cause of death in children up until the 1940s but occurs mainly in countries with poor levels of immunisation. Cases in Australia are rare now due to high immunisation rates.

How is it spread?

Diphtheria bacteria can live in the mouth, nose, throat or skin on infected individuals and is usually spread from respiratory droplets after an infected person has coughed or sneezed. 

Sometimes the bacteria spreads from close contact with discharges from an infected person’s mouth, nose, throat or skin but this is rare.

Without antibiotic treatment, people with diphtheria are infectious for…

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