What is diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a serious infection of the nose and throat caused by the diphtheria bacteria. The bacteria are spread through sneezing, coughing or direct contact with an open wound infected with diphtheria.

What are the symptoms of diphtheria?

The diphtheria bacteria make a poison that can cause weakness, sore throat, fever and swollen glands in the neck.

What are the risks of diphtheria?

The disease can result in very severe breathing problems. It can also cause heart failure and paralysis. About 1 in 10 people who get diphtheria may die.

How can I prevent getting diphtheria?  

The best way to not get diphtheria is to get immunized. The vaccine is safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get diphtheria disease. When you get immunized you help to protect others as well.

Who should get the diphtheria vaccine?

The diphtheria vaccine is given to babies, children at four years of age, teenagers as part of the grade 9 school program, and is recommended for adults every 10 years. The diphtheria vaccine is provided free in B.C. It is combined with other vaccines so when you get your diphtheria vaccination you will be protected against other diseases.

Get immunized against diphtheria by making an appointment with your doctor, pharmacist (for those 5 years and older) or Public Health.

To book an immunization appointment with Public Health:

Residents of Fraser East (Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Agassiz and Hope), call 604-702-4906

Residents in any other area of Fraser Health, call 604-476-7087 


For more information about diphtheria and the diphtheria vaccine, go to:

I Need To...