In 2016, more than 7,000 diphtheria cases were reported worldwide with about half reported in India. In addition, diphtheria hasn’t been seen in Venezuela in decades; however, under a socialist, dictatorial regime, Venezuela has seen the comeback of this vaccine preventable killer to the tune of 450 cases since the summer of 2016.

In this podcast, I briefly talk a little about the history of diphtheria and some recent epidemics.

I was also joined by Senior Associate with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Amesh Adalja, MD who answered questions about transmission, pathology, complications, treatment and the vaccines.

When I asked if there was a diphtheria outbreak in the US, would we be seeing an anti-vaccine movement?, Dr Adalja said, “I don’t think so. Diphtheria is such a dangerous disease with such a high mortality rate that it would really bring people to their senses..the anti-vaccine movement…to see what a vaccine-preventable disease would do and what a plague diphtheria was.”

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