KWANGSHIN KIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KWANGSHIN KIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Diphtheria bacterium. Coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of a section through a Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacterium, the cause of diphtheria in humans. It is a rod-shaped, gram- positive bacterium spread by inhalation of airborne bacteria or direct contacted with an infected person. Once inside its host it multiplies rapidly, producing a powerful exotoxin that damages the heart and nerve tissues, leading to death if not treated with antibiotics. Vaccination has made the disease rare in most western countries. The cytoplasm is surrounded by a mucus cell wall (blue). Magnification: x25,000 at 6x9cm size.
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