Journal of Hygiene

Research Article

Diphtheria in Europe

W. Kwantesa1

a1 Public Health Laboratory Diphtheria Reference Service, Public Health Laboratory, Cockett Road, Swansea, Wales, SA2 0FA


A letter of inquiry was sent to 21 countries in Europe to ascertain their experience of diphtheria during the last 20 years. An analysis of the 15 replies showed that all relied on childhood vaccination and that this had reduced the annual incidence of the disease to a very low level. There was mention of three epidemics during the last ten years, and three countries identified several cases of skin diphtheria, mostly in patients who had contracted infection abroad.