JOHN DURHAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN DURHAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light micrograph of Corynebacterium diphtheria gravis, a Gram positive rod-shaped bacterium that causes diphtheria. It is the most virulent of the C. diptheria biotypes. The bacteria are generally located in the throat, but may affect other mucous membranes and the skin. A soft membrane forms across the throat constricting the air passages and impeding normal breathing. The multiplying bacteria release toxins, which are distributed round the body in the bloodstream causing damage to the heart and nerves. Prompt treatment with antitoxin and penicillin usually controls the disease. Transmission is by direct contact with an infected person. Magnification: x630 at 35mm size.
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