Diphtheria is caused by the corynebacterium diphtheriae bacterium. It’s most commonly spread through person-to-person contact or contact with items that have the bacteria on them. Coming into contact with items such as an infected person’s cup or used tissue can transfer the bacteria. The mist exhaled by an infected person’s sneeze or cough can also contain the bacteria.
Treatment The vaccine for diphtheria is given in a single shot (along with vaccines for pertussis and tetanus) that is called DTaP. The DTaP vaccine is administered in a series at 2, 4, and 6 months of age, and then again at around 1 and 4 years of age. In rare cases, a child might have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can result in seizures or hives that later go away.