A very dangerous contagious disease in which the air passages, and especially the throat, become coated with a false membrane, produced by the solidification of an inflammatory exudation. Cf. Group.
- An acute infectious disease caused by the bacillus Corynebacterium diphtheriae, characterized by the production of a systemic toxin and the formation of a false membrane on the lining of the mucous membrane of the throat and other respiratory passages, causing difficulty in breathing, high fever, and weakness. The toxin is particularly harmful to the tissues of the heart and central nervous system.