a1 Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Leighton Hospital, Crewe, UK
Objective: We report a case of diphtheria in an elderly patient, with a fatal outcome.
Method: Case report and a review of the literature concerning the current recommended guidelines on detection of, and response to, diphtheria.
Results: Although still rare, cases of diphtheria are being reported with increasing frequency in the UK, possibly as a result of immigration and travel. A high index of suspicion, rapid detection of carriers, and instigation of treatment and vaccination are the mainstays of management.
Conclusion: Diphtheria can mimic other forms of acute upper airway obstruction and can lead to a fatal outcome. Otorhinolaryngological surgeons need to consider this re-emergent disease as a potential diagnosis in patients with an unusual presentation of airway obstruction.
(Accepted November 20 2007)
(Online publication April 23 2008)
Mr I Khodaei takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper.
Competing interests: None declared