People who are at increased risk of contracting diphtheria include:
- Children and adults who don't have up-to-date immunizations
- People living in crowded or unsanitary conditions
- People who have a compromised immune system
- Anyone who travels to an area where diphtheria is endemic
Diphtheria rarely occurs in the United States and Europe, where health officials have been immunizing children against the condition for decades. However, diphtheria is still common in developing countries where immunization rates are low.
In areas where diphtheria is a standard vaccination, the disease is mainly a threat to unvaccinated or inadequately vaccinated people who travel internationally or have contact with people from less-developed countries.
Mar. 19, 2013
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- Bishai WR, et al. Diphtheria and other infections caused by corynebacteria and related species. In: Fauci AS, et al. Harrison's Online. 17th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aid=2898307. Accessed Feb. 10, 2011.
- Recommended immunization schedule for persons aged 0 through 18 years — United States, 2013. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/child-adolescent.html. Accessed Feb. 19, 2013.