In a follow-up to a report of diphtheria cases in Malappuram district, Kerala, India, health officials report three additional cases Tuesday, bringing the total to five in the past week or so.


According to a Times of India report, the new cases were reported in unimmunized children from Irimbiliyam, Cherukavu and Pulikkal panchayat.

The three have been confirmed clinically and laboratory testing is pending. All three are hospitalized and being treated. One of the children diagnosed last week has recovered and been discharged.

Diphtheria is an infection caused by the Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacterium.

Diphtheria is spread (transmitted) from person to person, usually through respiratory droplets, like from coughing or sneezing. Rarely, people can get sick from touching open sores (skin lesions) or clothes that touched open sores of someone sick with diphtheria. A person also can get diphtheria by coming in contact with an object, like a toy, that has the bacteria that cause diphtheria on it.