Guidance

Diphtheria: laboratory isolates of C. diphtheriae and C. ulcerans

Laboratory isolates of Corynebacterium diphtheriae and Corynebacterium ulcerans in England and Wales from 1986 to 2014.

Pharyngeal or cutaneous diphtheria is caused by toxigenic strains of C. diphtheriae and occasionally by C. ulcerans. The table below shows the isolates received by the Respiratory and Vaccine Preventable Bacteria Reference Unit (RVPBRU) for toxigenicity testing.

Year Toxigenic C. diphtheriae Toxigenic C. ulcerans Non-toxigenic C. diphtheriae Total Corynebacteria Isolates
1986 8 1 4 13
1987 2 2 8 12
1988 4 1 6 11
1989 6 2 12 20
1990 4 0 17 21
1991 1 2 11 14
1992 3 1 55 59
1993 5 4 51 60
1994 4 4 48 56
1995 1 4 137 142
1996 3 5 130 138
1997 5 5 178 188
1998 3 2 162 167
1999 0 2 255 256
2000 1 7 294 301
2001 0 3 205 209
2002 6 2 143 152
2003 3 2 147 152
2004 0 1 130 131
2005 0 2 123 125
2006 1 2 68 71
2007 0 3 79 82
2008 2 4* 68 73
2009 2 2 37 41
2010 1 1 45 47
2011 0 2 54 56
2012 0 1 66 67
2013 3 0 69 72
2014 0 1 69† 70
  • Including 1 isolate which was previously identified as toxigenic C. pseudotuberculosis

† Including 5 non-toxigenic tox gene bearing C. diphtheriae isolates

Published 31 March 2014