A common childhood disease in the 1930s, diphtheria is a bacterial disease that can infect the throat (respiratory diphtheria) or the skin (skin or cutaneous diphtheria). While it can be caught from a child who is infected, it's very rare in the United States, thanks to the diphtheria vaccine. The Division of Infectious Diseases at Boston Children's Hospital provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care for children with diphtheria, including consultations for unusual infections.

  • There are two kinds: respiratory diphtheria and cutaneous (skin) diphtheria.
  • It can enter your body from the mouth or the nose.
  • The vaccine is given to most children in the first year.
  • Treatment may include antibiotics and antitoxins.

How Boston Children's Hospital approaches diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis

Children's highly recommends giving all healthy children the DTaP vaccine.