Why Is Diphtheria, An Extinct Disease, Once Again A Global Threat?

The world has been going through difficult times since the Covid-19 pandemic began. The disease caused by the new Coronavirus has already claimed hundreds of thousands of victims. Therefore, the idea of ​​“pandemic” has been completely updated. Generations and more generations, all over the world, would never imagine living something like this, since the references we had about the pandemic were cases that happened several years ago. This idea, of a pandemic, was something totally far from our reality. Today, it is an experience that brings apprehension whenever mentioned. This is the case, according to a British study , which can happen with diphtheria.

This disease is a real problem, it’s been around for years, it’s even been documented. Currently, the treatment against diphtheria is done with antibiotics and fortunately there is already a vaccine available. However, according to the recent study, all of this is now totally uncertain. There are risks and the world can, at any time, suffer from the disease on a scale never seen before. And thinking about it a little better, we decided to bring some information that you didn’t know about the disease. Check with us below and share with your friends now.

Evolution of the bacteria that causes diphtheria

This disease has gained strength because of the evolution of the bacteria. It is known that the disease is caused by certain strains of Corynebacterium diphtheriae, which has been evolving little by little. 

This disease suffered its first defeat in the late 1990s, when the vaccine was created. However, now, it has the potential to threaten again. The bacterium is present in several countries and has been documented even here, in Brazil. To get a sense of how much it has been defeated, around 85% of the world’s population is vaccinated against diphtheria. In many countries, the disease is already considered extinct, including in Brazil.

The risk of a new pandemic

There are, unfortunately, several countries in the world that do not have effective vaccination programs. In addition, there are still people who refuse to take vaccines. In practice, this means that the bacteria are still circulating around. Now the study, published in Nature Communications, points out the risks of a new global-level outbreak of the disease, which is highly transmissible and generates symptoms that can range from mild to severe.

Diphtheria is transmitted through respiratory droplets and can also be transmitted with injured skin, but less frequently. This bacteria begins to release a toxin into the patient’s body. In the first few days, the infection causes a sore throat and can cause a fever as well. This toxin soon kills the cells it comes in contact with and lodges in the throat for a while, causing dead debris to build up, resulting in shortness of breath.

These toxins can also cause swelling in the neck, caused by enlarged lymph nodes. The greatest risk for victims of this disease is the toxin reaching the bloodstream. If this happens, the disease becomes fatal in almost all cases.