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Diphtheria is a life-threatening, vaccine-preventable disease caused by toxigenic Corynebacterium bacterial species that continues to cause substantial disease and death worldwide, particularly in vulnerable populations. Further outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases are forecast because of health service disruptions caused by the coronavirus disease pandemic. Diphtheria causes a spectrum of clinical disease, ranging from cutaneous forms to severe respiratory infections with systemic complications, including cardiac and neurologic. In this synopsis, we describe a case of oropharyngeal diphtheria in a 7-year-old boy in Vietnam who experienced severe myocarditis complications. We also review the cardiac complications of diphtheria and discuss how noninvasive bedside imaging technologies to monitor myocardial function and hemodynamic parameters can help improve the management of this neglected infectious disease.

Original publication





Emerging infectious diseases

Publication Date





282 - 290


Humans, Corynebacterium, Corynebacterium diphtheriae, Diphtheria, Myocarditis, Child, Vietnam, Male