Diphtheria: guidance, data and analysis

The diagnosis, vaccination, surveillance epidemiology of diphtheria.

Diphtheria is an acute infectious disease of humans that affects the upper respiratory tract and occasionally the skin, caused by the action of diphtheria toxin produced by toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae or by Corynebacterium ulcerans.

Diphtheria is a vaccine preventable disease. The routine childhood immunisation schedule includes vaccination against diphtheria.

For symptoms and general information on diphtheria, visit NHS Choices.

It is a notifiable disease in England and Wales. Health professionals must inform local health protection teams of suspected cases.

Diagnosis and management


Data collection

Epidemiology and surveillance

Public Health England supports the Diphtheria Surveillance Network (DIPNET) as a surveillance network across Europe.

Immunisation coverage: completed primary courses at 2 years of age in England and Wales from 1966 to 1977, England only from 1978 onwards.

Published 1 April 2014