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Clinical features of diphtheria in thai children: a historic perspective.

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Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.


To study the clinical and laboratory features of childhood diphtheria, the cases of 381 children with clinical and bacteriological diagnoses of diphtheria who were treated at the Children's Hospital between 1976 and 1985 were reviewed. Of these, 191 were males and 190 were females. The mean age was 4.6 years. Approximately 75% of the patients had no history of immunization. Common manifestations of diphtheria included patch (100%), fever (92.4%), upper respiratory tract infection (91.6%), upper airway obstruction (42.3%), hoarseness (36.7%), and bull neck (11.3%). The mean duration of fever prior to admission was 3.3 days with a range of 0-11 days. Patch sites included the tonsils (91.9%), the pharynx (55.9%), the larynx (27.8%) and others (24.4%). Complications included upper airway obstruction (42.3%), cardiac complications (10.0%) and neurological complications (4.7%). The mortality rate was 5.8%. There were significant associations between death and the presence of bull neck, laryngeal patch, airway obstruction and cardiac complications. Early recognition and prompt treatment will decrease complications and mortality in this group of patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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