Oral cavity

Topic Completed: 1 June 2013

Revised: 2 March 2020

Copyright: 2002-2020, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Diphtheria oral cavity

Patricia DeVilliers D.D.S., M.S.
Charu Thakral, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 539
Page views in 2020 to date: 133
Cite this page: DeVilliers P, Thakral C. Diphtheria. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/oralcavitydiphtheria.html. Accessed March 28th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Upper respiratory tract illness caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, a facultative anaerobic and Gram positive bacterium
  • Characterized by sore throat, low fever and an adherent membrane (pseudomembrane) on tonsils, pharynx, nasal cavity
  • May lead to myocarditis (20%), neuropathy (10%)
  • Diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT) vaccine recommended for all school age children in U.S.

Images hosted on other servers:

False membrane extends to soft palate

Clinical images

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Skin lesions

"Bull neck"

McLoed agar plate culture

Blood agar culture

Cystine tellurite plate culture

Gross description
  • Dirty white, fibrinosuppurative, tough, inflammatory membrane over tonsils and posterior pharynx
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Gram positive bacteria

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