C. diphtheria is a member of a group of irregular, non-spore-forming, aerobic Grampositive bacilli characterized by growth in facultative anaerobic conditions and catalase-and oxidase-positivity. Although other coryneform bacteria are ubiquitous in nature, C. diphtheria exclusively exists on human mucous membranes and skin. Transmission is via infected respiratory droplets or skin wound for two to four weeks in untreated infected individuals, although antibiotic treatment greatly reduces the risk of transmission after 48 hours, and asymptomatic respiratory carriers factor greatly in disease transmission (4). Diphtheria immunization protects against disease but does not prevent carriage.
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