Toxigenic diphtheria: A review of the current knowledge

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Research Paper 01/03/2020
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Toxigenic diphtheria: A review of the current knowledge

Rehman Ali, Marina Khan, Muhammad Rooman
Int. J. Biosci.16( 3), 505-522, March 2020.
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Toxigenic diphtheria is the most feared and vaccine-preventable disease of global importance. It is one of the major health problems in developing countries and causes high morbidity and mortality. Three distinct species (Corynebacterium ulcerans, C. pseudotuberculosis, and C. diphtheriae) of the renowned genus Corynebacterium are responsible for this pathological condition. The review deals with the current advance knowledge concerning the etiology, transmission, distribution, pathogenesis, and control of the three pathogens. These pathogenic bacteria produce highly potent exotoxins: the major virulence factors. C. diphtheriae causes respiratory and cutaneous diphtheria most commonly in small children. C. pseudotuberculosis and C. ulcerans are the etiological agents of caseous lymphadenitis and zoonotic diphtheria, respectively. These species share particular features like specific cell wall composition (peptidoglycan, arabinogalactan and mycolic acid) and high G+C contents. These microorganisms are of considerable importance regarding the medical, veterinary, and biotechnological point of view. The toxins produced by toxigenic strains are highly potent and disseminate quickly, once disseminated then they could be highly lethal. Thus diphtheria toxoid and diagnosis followed by prompt treatment is the only way to decrease the rate of morbidity as well as mortality.


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