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Handb Clin Neurol. 2014;121:1355-9. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-7020-4088-7.00092-4.

Neurologic manifestations of diphtheria and pertussis.

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Division of Neurology, Bombay Hospital and Medical Research Centre, KEM Hospital and Seth G.S. Medical College, Mumbai, India. Electronic address:


Historically, diphtheria was a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the prevaccine era. However, in recent times there has been a resurgence of diphtheria, especially in the newly independent states of the former USSR. Diphtheritic polyneuropathy can be a serious complication in patients who have a severe infection. In patients with pertussis, seizures and encephalopathy can occur as a complication of asphyxia. Vaccination against diphtheria and pertussis in children and booster vaccination in adults is recommended. DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccination has been shown to increase the risk of febrile seizures in children. Currently, it appears that the risk of vaccine-induced encephalopathy and/or epilepsy following DTP vaccination, if any, is extremely low.


DTP vaccine; Diphtheria; autonomic neuropathy; bulbar dysfunction; pertussis; polyneuropathy; whooping cough

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