To detect the presence and identify the general type of bacteria or sometimes fungi (microbes) in a sample taken from the site of a suspected infection; to generally classify bacteria grown in culture so that further identification tests can be performed and appropriate treatment given
There are two treatment strategies that are used for patients diagnosed with diphtheria. Both are most effective when utilized early in the disease process. The first treatment is antibiotics. The CDC recommends erythromycin as the first-line therapy for patients older than 6 months of age. For patients who are younger or who cannot take erythromycin, the CDC recommends intramuscular penicillin. Patients usually become noninfectious after about 48 hours of antibiotic treatment and should be held in isolation until that time to prevent spread of the disease.
The second treatment is administration of diphtheria antitoxin. However, this antitoxin is only available from the CDC. Diphtheria antitoxin reduces the progression of the disease by binding diphtheria toxin that has not yet attached to the body's cells. The antitoxin is derived from horses, so recipients should not be treated if they are allergic. Your doctor will make the decision if you need only antibiotics or antibiotics plus antitoxin based on your symptoms, immunization status, and disease progression.
Diphtheria is preventable with the use of antibiotics and vaccines. The vaccine for diphtheria is called DTaP. It's usually given in a single shot along with vaccines for pertussis and tetanus. The DTaP vaccine is administered in a series of five shots. It's given to children at the following ages: 2 months 4 months 6 months 15 to 18 months 4 to 6 years In rare cases, a child might have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can result in seizures or hives, which will later go away. Vaccines only last for 10 years, so your child will need to be vaccinated again around age 12. For adults, it's recommended that you get a combined diphtheria and tetanus booster shot. This is known as the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccine. Taking these steps can help prevent you and your child from getting diphtheria in the future.
Diphtheria is a serious condition, so your doctor will want to treat you quickly and aggressively.
The first step of treatment is an antitoxin injection. This is used to counteract the toxin produced by the bacteria. Make sure to tell your doctor if you're allergic to the antitoxin. They may be able to give you small doses of the antitoxin and gradually build up to higher amounts. Your doctor will also prescribe antibiotics, such as erythromycin and penicillin, to help clear up the infection.