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Fact sheet - Health conditions directory

Diphtheria is an infection of the throat and nose caused by the Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacteria. Diphtheria can cause a membrane to grow around the inside of the throat which can lead to difficulty in swallowing and breathing. Occasionally these bacteria can also cause skin infections. Diphtheria has been rare in Australia since the introduction of an effective vaccine, but a century ago diphtheria was the common infectious cause of death. Outbreaks still occur in countries with low vaccination rates.

Public health management guidelines


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Attending medical practitioners/medical superintendents (or delegates)

Notification resources

Enhanced surveillance for public health units

  • Case report form (PDF, 504kB) - used by public health units to collect and manage more detailed information for enhanced case surveillance.

Resources for health professionals

Last updated: 5 June 2023

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