What are common presenting complaints in patients with diphtheria?

Updated: Jan 18, 2019
  • Author: Bruce M Lo, MD, MBA, CPE, RDMS, FACEP, FAAEM, FACHE; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Answer

Patients with diphtheria may present with the following complaints:

  • Low-grade fever (rarely >103°F) (50-85%) and chills

  • Malaise, weakness, prostration

  • Sore throat (85-90%)

  • Headache

  • Cervical lymphadenopathy and respiratory tract pseudomembrane formation (about 50%)

  • Serosanguineous or seropurulent nasal discharge, white nasal membrane

  • Hoarseness, dysphagia (26-40%)

  • Dyspnea, respiratory stridor, wheezing, cough


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