Medicine: Diphtheria Up

From the U.S. Public Health Service last week came a warning: diphtheria is on the rise. The number of cases, 10,335 so far this year, was not alarming, but it was some 2,500 above the recent norm, reversed a 25-year trend.

U.S. health officials disagree with the current British theory: that more dangerous new strains of diphtheria bacilli have developed, in the U.S., the standard treatments—immunization with toxoid injections, therapy with antitoxin—are still effective.

Officials think the rise may be due to 1) a slackening in immunization, 2) an increase in vulnerability among young adults (many recent diphtheria deaths have been among returning...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!