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How common is diphtheria now?

Page last updated 09 April 2020

Due to routine vaccination diphtheria is now rare in Australia and other developed countries. However, in the cases that are reported diphtheria is now more commonly seen in adults than in children.

Although rare in Australia, diphtheria still occurs in many developing countries. In particular, Asia, the South Pacific, the Middle East, and in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Outbreaks have occurred in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Venezuela, Haiti, South Africa and Yemen, since 2016.

If you are planning an overseas trip, make sure you are up-to-date with your immunisations.



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Sources & Citations

  1. Victorian Government. Better Health Channel. Diphtheria. Available at: (accessed 27 February 2020).
  2. Australian Government. Department of Health. Diphtheria in Australia, recent trends and future prevention strategies. Available at: (accessed 27 February 2020).
  3. Centers for Disease Control. Chapter 3, infectious diseases related to travel. Diphtheria. Available at: (accessed 27 February 2020).

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0134(1)a - Date of preparation March 2020