GC: n

S: EncBrit; DORLAND p. 1943.

N: 1. from French diphthérie, coined 1857 by physician Pierre Bretonneau (1778-1862) from Greek diphthera "prepared hide, leather," of unknown origin; the disease so called for the tough membrane that forms in the throat. Bretonneau's earlier name for it was diphthérite, anglicized as diphtheritis (1826). Formerly known in England as the Boulogne sore throat, because it spread from France.
2. Acute infectious disease caused by the bacillus Corynebacterium diphtheriae and characterized by a primary lesion, usually in the upper respiratory tract, and more generalized symptoms resulting from the spread of the bacterial toxin throughout the body. Diphtheria was a serious contagious disease throughout much of the world until the late 19th century, when its incidence in Europe and North America began to decline and was eventually reduced even further by immunization measures. It still occurs mainly in the temperate regions of the world, being more common during the colder months of the year and most often affecting children under age 10.
The diphtheria bacillus was discovered and identified by German bacteriologists Edwin Klebs and Friedrich Löffler.
3. The organism chiefly infects the respiratory tract, where it causes tonsillopharyngitis and/or laryngitis, classically with a pseudomembrane, and the skin, causing a variety of indolent lesions. If the infecting strain produces exotoxin, myocarditis and neuritis may ensue.
4. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention the movie Four Faces West (1948) by Alfred E. Green.

S: 1. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=diphtheria&searchmode=none(external link) (last access: 3 September 2014). 2. EncBrit. 3. TERMIUM PLUS. 4. http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9905E6D81F3EE53ABC4C53DFBE668383659EDE(external link) (last access: 2 April 2015).


CR: antibody, bacterium.


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