Definition of Diphtheria

1. Noun. Acute contagious infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae; marked by the formation of a false membrane in the throat and other air passages causing difficulty in breathing.

Generic synonyms: Contagion, Contagious Disease

Definition of Diphtheria

1. n. A very dangerous contagious disease in which the air passages, and especially the throat, become coated with a false membrane, produced by the solidification of an inflammatory exudation. Cf. Group.

Definition of Diphtheria

1. Noun. (pathology) A highly infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract characterised by a sore throat, fever, and difficulty breathing. Its effects are due to a potent toxin secreted by a bacterium. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Diphtheria

1. [n -S]

Medical Definition of Diphtheria

1. An acute infectious disease caused by toxigenic strains of Corynebacterium diphtheriae, acquired by contact with an infected person or a carrier of the disease, which is usually confined to the upper respiratory tract. It is characterised by the formation of a tough membrane (false membrane or pseudomembrane) attached firmly to the underlying tissue that will bleed if forcibly removed. In the most serious infections the membrane begins in the tonsillar (faucial) area on one tonsil and may spread to involve the other tonsil, uvula, soft palate and pharyngeal wall, from where it may extend to the larynx, trachea and bronchial tree and may cause bronchial obstruction and death by hypoxia. Diphtheria also occurs in a cutaneous form and may rarely involve the eyes, middle ear, buccal mucosa, genitalia and umbilical stump, usually secondarily. Systemic effects, chiefly myocarditis and peripheral neuritis, are caused by the exotoxin produced by C. Diphtheriae. Synonym: Bretonneau's angina. Origin: Gr. Diphthera = leather This entry appears with permission from the Dictionary of Cell and Molecular Biology (11 Mar 2008)

Diphtheria Pictures

Click the following link to bring up a new window with an automated collection of images related to the term: Diphtheria Images

Lexicographical Neighbors of Diphtheria

diphosphopyridine nucleotide
diphosphoric acid
diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine
diphtheria antitoxin
diphtheria antitoxin unit
diphtheria toxin
diphtheria toxoid
diphtheritic conjunctivitis
diphtheritic enteritis
diphtheritic membrane
diphtheritic neuropathy
diphtheritic paralysis

Literary usage of Diphtheria

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. Proceedings by Philadelphia County Medical Society (1897)
"AC ABBOTT said that the paper of Dr. Vansant is one of several showing that the diphtheria-bacillus, like other pathogenic bacteria, is liable to fl ..."

2. Proceedings by Philadelphia County Medical Society (1897)
"In the course of this work, it was found that from time to time cases arose that were clinically not diphtheria ; such, for instance, as those referred to ..."

3. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences by Southern Society for Clinical Investigation (U.S.) (1895)
"The growth of the diphtheria bacillus was also abundant in bouillon in which ... The virulence of the diphtheria bacillus appeared to be also increased by ..."

4. Index of Economic Material in the Documents of the States of the United by Adelaide Rosalia Hasse, Carnegie Institution of Washington. Dept. of Economics and Sociology (1912)
"Table based upon all repts. of diphtheria showing location, origin, sanitary condition ... Conditions of propagation of diphtheria; Boston Med. and Surg. ..."

5. Annual Report by Cincinnati (Ohio), Board of Education, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati (Ohio). Board of Education (1893)
"diphtheria. diphtheria. diphtheria. Heart Failure. Scarlet Fever. diphtheria. ... diphtheria. diphtheria. Fever. diphtheria. Inflammation of Bowels. ..."

6. Preventive Medicine and Hygiene by Milton Joseph Rosenau, George Chandler Whipple, John William Trask, Thomas William Salmon (1916)
"diphtheria antitoxin, when injected subcutaneously, protects the ... The diphtheria bacilli are supposedly agglutinated and may then be more readily washed ..."

Other Resources Relating to: Diphtheria

Search for Diphtheria on!Search for Diphtheria on!Search for Diphtheria on Google!Search for Diphtheria on Wikipedia!