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Diphtheria Vaccinations

When you are travelling to countries in Asia, Australasia, Caribbean, Eastern Europe and The Middle East it is important to have a vaccination so you do not contract Diphtheria. For up-to-date information about the area you’re visiting, check the TravelHealthPro country guides.

About Diphtheria

Diphtheria is a serious, contagious infection which can get into your body by way of the nose and throat and sometimes the skin.  This is often due to contamination by other persons suffering from Diptheria.

Symptoms of Diphtheria

  • High temperature (38C or above)
  • Sore Throat
  • Feeling sick
  • Swollen glands
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • Headache
  • A thick grey-white coating at the back of your throat

If it affects your skin (cutaneous diphtheria), it can cause:

  • Pus-filled blisters on your legs, feet and hands
  • Large ulcers surrounded by red, sore-looking skin

Even after completing the childhood vaccination schedule, you may still require a booster dose of the vaccine every 10 years if you are travelling to an area where diphtheria is considered to be high risk.


Diphtheria is highly contagious. It is spread by coughs and sneezes, or through close contact with someone who is infected.  You can also contract diphtheria by sharing items, such as cups, cutlery, clothing or bedding, with an infected person.


The main treatments are:-

  • Antibiotics
  • Medicines that stop the effects of the harmful substances (toxins) produced by the bacteria
  • Thoroughly cleaning any infected wounds if you have diphtheria affecting the skin.

Treatment usually lasts 2 to 3 weeks.

Skin ulcers usually heal within 2 to 3 months but may leave a scar.

People who have been in close contact with someone who has diphtheria may also need to take antibiotics, or may be given a dose of the diphtheria vaccination.

Diphtheria Vaccinations

Diphtheria/Tetanus/Polio/Pertussis is usually administered in a single-dose vaccination

Book your private Diphtheria vaccinations here.