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Diphheria vaccination

Diphtheria vaccination

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Diphtheria is a contagious bacterial infection that usually affects the throat and nose but can also damage other organs, such as the skin. Diphtheria has been around for thousands of years and has been documented way back in ancient Egypt and Greece, but it’s now rare in the UK. However, you might be at risk if you travel to some parts of the world, such as Asia, Africa, and South America.

Diphtheria, what is it?

Diphtheria vaccination

Diphtheria vaccination is very safe and effective. As a reminder you should have received five doses in childhood, and if you're travelling then you should get a booster every 10 years. This diphtheria vaccine is usually combined with protection against a variety of other diseases.

A Diphtheria Vaccination is £39 per dose. If you’re travelling then there’ll be a Travel Consultation cost of £30 per person and vaccine cost, however, if you’re not travelling then it’s only the vaccination cost you pay.

Diphtheria vaccine price

Dr Ravi Gowda

Dr Ravi Gowda, Consultant in Infectious Diseases or one of his highly trained clinical colleagues will be looking after your vaccine requirements.

Who will be providing your Diphtheria vaccination?
We're a team of trained experts

Experts in Infectious Diseases

and Travel Medicine

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Over 21 years of experience in Travel Health

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Cared for more than

10,000  patients

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Over 150 5 star reviews on Google Reviews

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Book appointment online

1. Book an appointment online

Book and pay for your vaccination consultation online.

Attend your consultation

2. Attend your consultation

Complete an online health assessment and attend your consultation.

Get your vaccination

3. Get your Diphtheria vaccination

Get the vaccination you need and you're ready to go.

How it works
Prevention icon

You should practice good hygiene, such as washing hands regularly, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding close contact with sick people. You should also avoid consuming raw dairy products, and avoid having close contact with cattle or other farm animals in higher risk areas.

Prevention
Treatment icon

Diphtheria immunisation is most important. If you were to contract the disease, it can be serious so you’d need to get treated quickly. Prompt diphtheria treatment involves the following steps: - Treatment with diphtheria anti-toxin - Treatment with antibiotics - Management of the complications of diphtheria, such as myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), polyneuropathy (nerve damage) and kidney failure.

Diphtheria treatment
Symptoms icon

The main symptoms of diphtheria you should look out for are: Sore throat Husky voice Difficulty swallowing Pain when swallowing Fever Cough Headache A classic feature of diphtheria is that you may develop what we doctors call a ‘pseudomembrane’ in your throat. This is a grey-white sloughy area around your tonsils. Diphtheria can also infect your skin that leads to painful ulcers that do not heal. Of course, a sore throat with tonsillitis can give you similar symptoms but the difference is that diphtheria only occurs in return travellers in the UK.

Diphtheria symptoms
Causes icon

Diphtheria is caused by a bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It’s highly contagious and you can get infected by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. You’re also at risk of catching the disease if you touch contaminated surfaces, food, or objects. Diphtheria can make you unwell because it produces a nasty toxin that can affect other organs in your body. That's why we recommend seeing a doctor promptly if you have any symptoms of diphtheria.

Diphtheria causes
Side effects icon

Common side effects include pain, swelling and redness at the sight of the injection.

Diphtheria vaccine side effects
Frequently asked questions
  • Your primary childhood course consists of five doses. If you're travelling more than 10 years after these childhood doses we recommend getting a booster diphtheria vaccination.

  • If you've not completed your childhood schedule then you should do this before you travel. You should also get a booster if you've not had one in the last 10 years. 

     

    Diphtheria is still common throughout the world but there are some regions where it’s still endemic (a disease that occurs regularly in an area or community). These include:

    • Eastern Europe 

    • The Middle East 

    • South America

    • Asia and the South Pacific

  • Diphtheria vaccine is inactivated, so as a general rule it's possible to offer it to pregnant women who might be at risk. They should always be given after a careful risk assessment by a clinician.

  • From the time you get infected, it's usually about 2-5 days before you develop symptoms.

  • Yes definitely. You might catch it through respiratory droplets when someone near you coughs or sneezes. Once you've received antibiotics for 48 hours, then you're not usually infectious.

Authors:

Dr Ravi Gowda, Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Travel Medicine

MBBS, MRCP(UK), DTM&H, MRCGP, DCH, DRCOG, DFFP

Caitlin Lancaster, BSc

 

Resources:

  1. Diphtheria -  Mayo Clinic 

  2. Diphtheria fact sheet - European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control