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Definition of "diphtheria" [diph•the•ri•a]

  • An acute infectious disease caused by the bacillus Corynebacterium diphtheriae, characterized by the production of a systemic toxin and the formation of a false membrane on the lining of the mucous membrane of the throat and other respiratory passages, causing difficulty in breathing, high fever, and weakness. The toxin is particularly harmful to the tissues of the heart and central nervous system. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "diphtheria" in a sentence
  • "Diphtheria: A gargle of sulphur and water has been used with much success in cases of diphtheria."
  • "Therefore, although the risk of disease and death from diphtheria is very small, the risk of severe adverse reactions or death from the diphtheria vaccine is zero."
  • "Behring, however, who announced, in 1913, his production of a mixture of this kind, and subsequent work which modified and refined the mixture originally produced by Behring resulted in the modern methods of immunization which have largely banished diphtheria from the scourges of mankind."
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