Resurgence of diphtheria: clinical profile and outcome - a retrospective observational study


  • Basavaraja G.V. Department of Pediatric Medicine, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
  • Pooja Gujjal Chebbi Department of Pediatric Medicine, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
  • Siddharth Joshi Department of Pediatric Medicine, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, Bangalore, Karnataka, India



Diphtheria, Resurgence, Anti diptheric serum, Epidemic, Epidemiological surveillance


Background: Despite the availability of antitoxin and antibiotics, the mortality rate for diphtheria remains high. In the pre-vaccination era, diphtheria was a leading cause of childhood mortality. With the introduction of routine childhood immunization, paediatric care and improved hygiene status the disease has been almost completely eradicated in many developed countries. On the contrary developing countries, still account for 80–90% of the global burden. The present paper is a retrospective study in an attempt to highlight the problems faced by developing countries in tackling the menace of diphtheria and also to examine the outcome and clinical profile of diphtheria in children.

Methods: Study is based on the retrospective analysis of the records available from January 2015 to December 2015 at a tertiary referral hospital, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health. The data was obtained from the hospital medical records section by searching for cases diagnosed as Diphtheria based on WHO criteria for diagnosing Diphtheria. The data was analysed retrospectively with respect to demographic details, clinical features, immunization status, pseudo membrane score, complications and mortality.

Results: Incidence in those over 5 years was 25.8%. Only 48.3% cases were fully immunized. The case fatality rate was 41%.

Conclusions: In conclusion, the occurrence of diphtheria even in those immunized highlights the flaws in the present immunization program. 


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