Diphtheria is an infection caused by bacteria that releases toxins in the body. It can be life-threatening. The infection and toxins causes a thick coating in your nose and throat. This coating can make it hard to breath. Diphtheria can be easily spread between people.
Tetanus (also known as lockjaw) is caused by bacteria that enter through broken skin. The bacteria release a toxin in the body. It affects the nerves leading to severe muscle spasms. If it affects the muscles you need to breathe, it can be fatal.
Pertussis is also known as whooping cough. It is caused by bacteria that easily spread from person to person. It cause swelling in the airways. This causes a distinct, severe cough and breathing problems.
Last reviewedJuly 2012by J. Thomas Megerian, MD, PhD, FAAP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.