Report Confirmed or Suspect Cases Immediately to the Local Health Department.
Diphtheria is a severe respiratory disease that is caused by toxin-producing bacteria. The bacteria live in the mouth, nose and throat of an infected person and spread through coughing and sneezing. Diphtheria is a vaccine preventable disease. Getting vaccinated against diphtheria will protect people from getting this disease. Before the vaccine was available, diphtheria was a common childhood illness.