Here is another fun fact that vaccines can add to its resume - since the introduction of the first of four vaccines to prevent diphtheria in the 1920s, cases of this deadly bacterial infection have dropped nearly 100% in the US, going from about 206,000 cases to less than five cases in the past decade.
“Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection usually affecting the mucous membranes of your nose and throat,” says the Mayo Clinic. They go on to say that “Diphtheria typically causes a sore throat, fever, swollen glands and weakness. But the hallmark sign is a sheet of thick, gray material covering the back of your throat, which can block your airway, causing you to struggle for breath. Diphtheria is extremely rare in the United States and other developed countries, thanks to widespread vaccination against the disease. Medications are available to treat diphtheria. However, in advanced stages, diphtheria can damage your heart, kidneys and nervous system. Even with treatment, diphtheria can be deadly — up to 3 percent of people who get diphtheria die of it. The rate is higher for children under 15.”
Fun fact - did you know that diphtheria can be spread through laughter? It’s true, although there is nothing funny about diphtheria.