DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Corynebacterium diphtheriae, Gram-positive, aerobic, non-motile, rod-like prokaryote. This species is the causal agent of the disease diphtheria (disease characteristic: inflammation of the pharynx). The bacteria lodge in the mucous membranes of the throat, producing virulent toxins that destroy the tissue. Diphtheria usually occurs in children and was once a common and dreaded disease with a high mortality rate; it is now rare in countries where infants are vaccinated. Some Corynebacterium species are part of the normal bacterial flora of humans and as plant pathogens. Magnification: x3,000 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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