|diphtheria (dɪpˈθɪərɪə, dɪf-)|
|an acute contagious disease caused by the bacillus Corynebacterium diphtheriae, producing fever, severe prostration, and difficulty in breathing and swallowing as the result of swelling of the throat and formation of a false membrane|
|[C19: New Latin, from French diphthérie, from Greek diphthera leather; from the nature of the membrane]|
|a printed punctuation mark (‽), available only in some typefaces, designed to combine the question mark (?) and the exclamation point (!), indicating a mixture of query and interjection, as after a rhetorical question.|
|a calculus or concretion found in the stomach or intestines of certain animals, esp. ruminants, formerly reputed to be an effective remedy for poison.|
diphtheria diph·the·ri·a (dĭf-thēr'ē-ə, dĭp-)
An acute infectious disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, and characterized by the production of a systemic toxin and the formation of a false membrane on the lining of the mucous membrane of the throat and other respiratory passages, causing difficulty in breathing, high fever, and weakness. The toxin is particularly harmful to the tissues of the heart and central nervous system.
|diphtheria (dĭf-thîr'ē-ə, dĭp-) Pronunciation Key
An infectious disease caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae and characterized by fever, swollen glands, and the formation of a membrane in the throat that prevents breathing. Infants are routinely vaccinated against diphtheria, which was once a common cause of death in children.
An acute disease, and a contagious disease, caused by bacteria that invade mucous membranes in the body, especially those found in the throat. The bacteria produce toxic substances that can spread throughout the body.
Note: In developed countries, diphtheria has been virtually wiped out through an active program of infant immunization.