Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
The history of
diphtheria dates back to Hippocrates; once the organisms were identified and
found to produce exotoxins, the development of vaccines have markedly reduced
The cause of diphtheria is an infection by Corynebacterium species; the most severe infections are due to those
Corynebacterium strains that produce exotoxins.
The highest risk factor for
developing diphtheria is not getting immunized against the disease; other
factors include crowding, immunosuppression, and direct or indirect contact with
an infected individual.
Diphtheria is diagnosed by the patient's history and
physical examination; culture of Corynebacterium from the patient yields a
definitive diagnosis although patient should be treated if diphtheria is even
The treatment of diphtheria involves early administration of
antibiotics; the use of antitoxin, made in horses, is done to neutralize Corynebacterium exotoxin that has not bound to human tissue.
diphtheria include heart-rhythm problems, sepsis, organ damage, and breathing
problems (pseudomembrane formation, for example) that can be severe enough to
If treated appropriately and early in the infection, the prognosis
for diphtheria is usually good; however, if complications develop, the prognosis
decreases especially if sepsis and/or cardiac involvement occurs.
possible to prevent diphtheria; the main way is to appropriately vaccinate
individuals with one of the four major vaccine types available.
What is diphtheria?
Diphtheria is in infectious disease caused by the Corynebacterium species of
bacteria and is most often associated with a sore throat, fever, and the
development of an adherent membrane on the tonsils and/or nasopharynx. Severe
infections can affect other organ systems such as the heart and the nervous
system. In addition, some patients with diphtheria can also have skin
infections. Exotoxin produced by the bacteria is an important component in
causing diphtheria's more severe symptoms.