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Diphtheria in North America

  • J. M. S. Dixon (a1)

Summary

The incidence of diphtheria has declined in North America during the last fifty years until it is now an uncommon disease. This general pattern is similar to that seen in other developed countries with well-organized immunization programmes, but certain noteworthy characteristics have been observed in recent years: foci of infection lingered in two population groups of low socio-economic status, in both of which the skin has been an important reservoir. In central areas of certain cities, endemic diphtheria, chiefly cutaneous, has occurred amongst indigent adult males living in unhygienic conditions; and in the native Indian population of Northern Canada diphtheria infection has been endemic in infants and children, many of the infections being of the skin or ear and toxic disease being uncommon. During the last few years, diphtheria outbreaks have not been reported in urban areas and possibly endemicity is now restricted to northern native populations. The number of infections detected in these northern endemic areas is steadily decreasing.

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References

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Diphtheria in North America

  • J. M. S. Dixon (a1)

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