Diphtheria risks becoming major global threat again as it evolves antimicrobial resistance

  08 March 2021

Diphtheria – a relatively easily-preventable infection – is evolving to become resistant to a number of classes of antibiotics and in future could lead to vaccine escape, warn an international team of researchers from the UK and India.

The researchers, led by scientists at the University of Cambridge, say that the impact of COVID-19 on diphtheria vaccination schedules, coupled with a rise in the number of infections, risk the disease once more becoming a major global threat.

Diphtheria is a highly contagious infection that can affect the nose and throat, and sometimes the skin. If left untreated it can prove fatal. In the UK and other high-income countries, babies are vaccinated against infection. However, in low- and middle-income countries, the disease can still cause sporadic infections or outbreaks in unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated communities.

Further reading: EurekAlert
Author(s): University of Cambridge
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