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Diphtheria Antitoxoid Antibody

Does this test have other names?

Anti-diphtheria test, DIPH2, DIPO, DIPE

What is this test?

This test measures the level of diphtheria antibodies in your blood.

Diphtheria is a serious infectious disease caused by C. diphtheriae bacteria. Diphtheria affects the respiratory tract. It causes symptoms such as:

  • Sore throat

  • Weakness

  • Nausea

  • Trouble swallowing

  • Trouble breathing

  • Paralysis

  • Heart failure

Diphtheria can be fatal if not treated. 

The disease is very rare in the U.S. because of most people are vaccinated against it. The CDC recommends that all children be vaccinated against diphtheria with a vaccine that also protects against tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis). Because immunity can fade over time, the CDC also recommends that teens and adults get a booster shot every 10 years.

Why do I need this test?

You may have this test to find out whether you have or are at risk for diphtheria.

Although the disease is rarely seen in the U.S. and other developed countries, you may be at risk if:

  • You are an adult and haven't had a diphtheria booster shot

  • You recently traveled to a country where diphtheria is common

  • You recently moved to the U.S. from a country where diphtheria is widespread

What other tests might I have along with this test?

Your healthcare provider may also order a culture test for the diphtheria bacteria. A positive culture test tells your provider that you have diphtheria.

What do my test results mean?

Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare provider.

Results are given in international units per milliliter (IU/mL). If you have been vaccinated against diphtheria, your minimum levels of antibodies should be at least 0.01 to 0.1 IU/mL.

If your test results show a level lower than that, you may be at risk for diphtheria. If you have certain symptoms, you may need additional tests to find out whether you actually have diphtheria.

How is this test done?

The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your arm.

Does this test pose any risks?

Taking a blood sample with a needle carries risks that include bleeding, infection, bruising, or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you may feel a slight stinging sensation or pain. Afterward, the site may be slightly sore.

What might affect my test results?

Other factors aren't likely to affect your results.

How do I get ready for this test?

You don't need to prepare for this test. But be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use. 

Diphtheria Antitoxoid Antibody - WellSpan Health

Author: Vardigan, Benj
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Ziegler, Olivia Walton, MS, PA-C
Last Review Date: 2015-08-15T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2015-09-04T00:00:00
Published Date: 2015-09-04T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2012-06-29T00:00:00
© 2016 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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