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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 6 (1995), Issue 3, Pages 150-152
Case Report

Cutaneous Corynebacterium Diphtheriae: A Traveller’s Disease?

A Berih

Department of National Defence, Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, Petawawa, Ontario, Canada

Received 14 March 1994; Accepted 15 November 1994

Copyright © 1995 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A Canadian soldier incurred a nonhealing traumatic skin ulcer while on duty in Somalia. The diagnosis of localized cutaneous diphtheria was confirmed by isolation of a toxigenic strain of Corynebacterium diphtheriae from the ulcer. The patient was placed in isolation and treated with erythromycin and penicillin for 10 days without antitoxin. He was released when two consecutive daily cultures were negative. Public health officials evaluated his wife, two children and close contacts for carriage, but no carriers or secondary cases were identified. Cutaneous diphtheria as a diagnostic and management patient problem and potential public health problem are discussed.