Corynebacterium diphtheriae (Klebs-Löffler bacillus)- An Overview


Corynebacterium diphtheriae is a gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium that can cause diphtheria, a contagious infection that affects the throat and sometimes the skin . The bacterium produces a toxin that inhibits protein synthesis in human cells and can damage the nervous system . The toxin is encoded by a virus that infects the bacterium. The bacterium has four biovars based on colonial morphology and biochemical profiles. It is non-motile, non-encapsulated, and non-sporulating . It belongs to the order Actinomycetales, which are typically found in soil.

Diphtheria is a serious infection that can lead to difficulty breathing, heart rhythm problems, and even death. It is spread by droplets or by contact with infected persons or carriers . The bacteria multiply on the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract or on the skin and produce toxin that damages the local tissues and spreads through the bloodstream . The toxin can affect various organs, especially the heart and the nervous system . Diphtheria can be prevented by vaccination with diphtheria toxoid, which induces antibodies that neutralize the toxin .

Corynebacterium diphtheriae is a medically important bacterium that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. It is also a model organism for studying bacterial pathogenesis and gene regulation by bacteriophages. In this article, we will review the habitat, morphology, genome, cultural characteristics, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, laboratory diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Corynebacterium diphtheriae.