Diptheria was the terror of the slums of Victorian Britain. Stealthy, silent and deadly it crept through crowded insanitary tenements taking a horrifying mortality among the poor, especially their children. It started with a sore throat, but then temperature soared; as the bacterium Corynebacterium diptheriae ravaged its defenceless victim, dead tissue built up in an impenetrable membrane in the throat, leading to a painful death by asphxyation.
The years after 1945 saw a gradual control of the disease, through things like vaccines, antibiotics and the enforcement of housing standards. The move to a more low tax free market model after 1979 saw these advances go gradually into reverse, as investment in things like antibiotics tailed off and people were forced back into overcrowded flats and slums. Now there is good evidence that diptheria is back-and it’s hungry. Writing in The Conversation, Robert C Will and Ankur Mutreja of the University of Cambridge no less,descibe the alarming rise in antibiotic resistant strains of C diptheriae and the rising case numbers which are starting to cause alarm in many countries. We post links to both their piece and the Wikipedia pst. Warning: some of the medical descriptions and images in these links are not for the faint hearted.
#diptheria #antibioticresistance #vaccines #poverty #inequality #disease