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Medical Term:


Pronunciation: dif-ther'e-a

Definition: A specific infectious disease due to the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae and its highly potent toxin; marked by severe inflammation that can form a membranous coating, with formation of a thick fibrinous exudate, of the mucous membrane of the pharynx, the nose, and sometimes the tracheobronchial tree; the toxin produces degeneration in peripheral nerves, heart muscle, and other tissues, diphtheria had a high fatality rate, especially in children, but is now rare because of an effective vaccine.

[G. diphthera, leather]

© Copyright 2016 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.