Statutory notification alert

Public health management

Important information

  • Infectious agent: Toxic forms of Corynebacterium diphtheriae and Corynebacterium ulcerans.
  • Transmission: Normally spread from person to person in airborne droplets after an infected person has coughed or sneezed. May also be spread through direct contact with skin lesions or soiled articles.
  • Incubation period: Usually 2 to 5 days.
  • Infectious period: Until virulent bacteria have disappeared from discharges and lesions, up to four weeks after onset of symptoms.
  • Case exclusion: Excluded until non infectious.
  • Contact exclusion: Do not exclude. Contact management will be coordinated by public health unit staff.
  • Treatment: Antibiotic and antitoxin treatment as recommended by the doctor.
  • Immunisation: Recommended that children be vaccinated according to the Western Australian Immunisation Schedule. All adults who reach the age of 50 years should receive a vaccine booster dose if they have not received one in the previous ten years. See Australian Immunisation Handbook, Department of Health – Diphtheria (external site).
  • Case follow-up: Is conducted by public health units (Healthy WA) and the Communicable Disease Control Directorate.


Notifiable disease data and reports

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Public Health