– Incubation period: 2-6 days or longer.
– Causative agent : bacteria (Corynebacterium diphtheria).
– Method of spread : droplet from respiratory tract of infected person or carrier.
Clinical manifestations :
1- Nasal diphtheria :resemble common cold with nasal discharge and may be frank epistacsis.
2- Tonsillar (pharyngeal diphtheria): malaise,anorexia,sore throat, low grade fever,adherant white or gray membrane. Severe cases will develop toxemia, septic shock, death within 6-10 days.
3- Laryngeal diphtheria: fever,hoarsness of voice,cough,airway obstruction, cyanosis.
Complication of diphtheria :
1- Myocarditis (2nd week).
Nursing care :
– The aims of treatment are to inactivate toxin, to kill the organism, and to prevent respiratory obstruction.
– Strict bed rest, strict isolation.
– Cleansing throat gargle may be ordered.
– Liquid or soft diet,gavage or parenteral fluid.
– Observe for respiratory obstruction (tracheotomy).
– Use suctioning as needed.
– O2 therapy.
– Antitoxin is given against toxin.
– Toxoid is given to immunized contact.
– Broad spectrum antibiotic is given against diphtheria bacilli.