Clin Surg | Volume 4, Issue 1 | Case Report | Open Access

A Case of Acute Diphtheria with Severe Airway Obstruction

Mak M*, Cheang A and Huang L

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Singapore

*Correspondance to: Mak M 

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Diphtheria infection, once a significant cause of death and morbidity, is now potentially preventable, owing to the diphtheria toxoid vaccine. In developed countries with low disease incidence, a timely diagnosis may be elusive to unsuspecting physicians less familiar with the condition. The authors present the first local case of diphtheria infection in Singapore in 25 years. A 21-year-old Bangladeshi male with no recent travel history was seen with an atypical presentation of infective acute airway obstruction. This case demonstrates the importance for clinicians to remain cognizant of possible causative pathogens in the context of infection, and to maintain an index of suspicion for highly transmissible diseases. In such cases, early and adequate isolation precautions are prudent, with the involvement of multi-disciplinary teams to ensure best supportive care. Prompt notification to the Ministry of Health should also be undertaken.


Diphtheria; Bacterial infection; Airway obstruction; Infectious


Mak M, Cheang A, Huang L. A Case of Acute Diphtheria with Severe Airway Obstruction. Clin Surg. 2019; 4: 2439.

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