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FAQ

How is diphtheria spread?

Page last updated 20 March 2020

Diphtheria is spread from person-to-person by coughing or sneezing 2.

In Australia, it is now more common in adults rather than children – as most children have high levels of immunity due to immunisation programs. To prevent the spread of diphtheria, high levels of immunity are required in all age groups – which is why both adults and children are advised to be vaccinated against diphtheria.5

In rare cases, the bacteria that cause diphtheria can cause a skin infection (called cutaneous diphtheria), and in these cases, the disease may spread by having contact with pus from the wound.2

Sources & Citations

2. Victorian Government. Better Health Channel. Diphtheria. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/diphtheria (accessed 27 February 2020).

5. Australian Government. Department of Health. Diphtheria in Australia, recent trends and future prevention strategies. Available at: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/cda-pubs-cdi-2000-cdi2406-cdi2406f.htm (accessed 27 February 2020).

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0134(1)a - Date of preparation March 2020

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