The key difference between diphtheria and whooping cough is that diphtheria is a serious respiratory infection caused by Corynebacterium diptheriae while whooping cough is a serious respiratory infection caused by Bordetella pertussis.
Respiratory infections are infections in the body parts involved in breathing known as respiratory (sinuses, throat, airways, or lungs). Pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi can infect the respiratory tract. Upper respiratory infections affect the upper parts of the respiratory tract, including the nose, sinuses, and throat, while lower respiratory infections affect the airways and lungs. Diphtheria and whooping cough are two types of respiratory bacterial infections.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Diphtheria
3. What is Whooping Cough
4. Similarities – Diphtheria and Whooping Cough
5. Diphtheria vs Whooping Cough in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Diphtheria vs Whooping Cough
What is Diphtheria?
Diphtheria is a serious respiratory infection caused by a bacterium called Corynebacterium diptheriae. Diphtheria normally affects the mucous membranes of the nose and throat. This disease is extremely rare in countries like the United States and other developed countries thanks to the widespread vaccination but, many countries with limited health care or vaccination options still experience a high incidence of diphtheria.
The signs and symptoms of diphtheria include a thick, gray membrane covering the throat and tonsils, sore throat, hoarseness in the throat, swollen glands in the neck, difficulty breathing or rapid breathing, nasal discharge, fever, and chills, and tiredness. Moreover, the second type of diphtheria can affect the skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling. Ulcers are typically covered by a gray membrane. The complications of untreated diphtheria include breathing problems, heart diseases (myocarditis), and nerve damage. The bacteria is transmitted through airborne droplets and contaminated personal or household items.
Diphtheria can be diagnosed through physical examination and culturing techniques. Furthermore, the treatments for diphtheria include antibiotics such as penicillin or erythromycin and antitoxins.
What is Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough is a serious respiratory infection caused by a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis. The signs and symptoms of whooping cough include runny nose, nasal congestion, red, watery eyes, fever, cough, vomiting, a red or blue face, extreme fatigue, and end with a high-pitched “whoop” sound during the next breath of air. The complications of whooping cough include bruised or cracked ribs, abdominal hernias, and broken blood vessels in the skin or the whites of the eyes. Moreover, in infants, the complication is more severe. Some of these complications include pneumonia, slowed or stopped breathing, dehydration or weight loss due to feeding difficulties, seizures, and brain damage.
The diagnosis of whooping cough can be made through questionnaires, clinical evaluation, a nose or throat culture test, blood test, and chest X-ray. Furthermore, the treatment options for whooping cough include intravenous fluid for infants, antibiotics such as azithromycin, erythromycin, and clarithromycin for older children and adults, getting plenty of rest, and drinking plenty of fluids, eating smaller meals, cleaning the air, and preventing the transmission.
What are the Similarities Between Diphtheria and Whooping Cough?
- Diphtheria and whooping cough are two types of respiratory infections.
- Both diseases are caused by bacteria.
- They affect adults as well as children.
- Both diseases can be diagnosed through laboratory culturing.
- They can be treated by the administration of antibiotics.
What is the Difference Between Diphtheria and Whooping Cough?
Diphtheria is caused by a bacterium called Corynebacterium diptheriae while whooping cough is caused by a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis. This is the key difference between diphtheria and whooping cough. Furthermore, complications of diphtheria include breathing problems, heart diseases (myocarditis), and nerve damage. On the other hand, the complications of whooping cough include bruised or cracked ribs, abdominal hernias, broken blood vessels in the skin or the whites of the eyes in adults, pneumonia, slowed or stopped breathing, dehydration, or weight loss, seizures, and brain damage in infants.
The following table summarizes the difference between diphtheria and whooping cough.
Summary – Diphtheria vs Whooping Cough
Diphtheria and whooping cough are two types of respiratory infections caused by bacteria. Corynebacterium diptheriae is the causative agent of diphtheria, while Bordetella pertussis is the causative agent of whooping cough. This is the key difference between diphtheria and whooping cough.
1. “Dirty white pseudomembrane classically seen in diphtheria 2013-07-06 11-07” By User:Dileepunnikri – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Pertussis bacteria (Bordetella pertussis)” By Vaccines at Sanofi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) via Flickr