diphtheria was a widespread and greatly feared disease. In the
1920s, the United States experienced 100,000-200,000 cases of diphtheria
per year. About 15,000 people died from the disease a year.
spread when germs pass from an infected person to the nose or
throat of others. It is a very serious disease which may block
the airway, making it impossible to breathe. It may also cause
heart problems. Five to ten people out of 100 who contract diphtheria
die. But thanks to immunizations, diphtheria is rare today in
the United States.
vaccine is given to young children in the DTaP (diphtheria,
tetanus, and acellular Pertussis) or DT (diphtheria and tetanus)
vaccine series. Diphtheria vaccine is given to older children
and adults in the TD (Tetanus, diphtheria) or TDaP (Tetanus, Diphtheria, acellar Pertussis) vaccine.