Diphtheria specimen test kit, Wakefield, England, 1931-1950
The Public Health Laboratory Service issued this kit. It contains a test tube for a blood sample and two glass slides for use under a microscope. The kit tested for diphtheria. This sometimes fatal respiratory disease causes difficulty in breathing and swallowing due to excessive swelling of the throat. It was a major cause of death in the 1800s and early 1900s, especially among children. Improvements in treatment and the development of a vaccine saw a significant decline in mortality from the 1920s. A pre-addressed letter is also in the box. This blank form held details such as date, address, pre-existing medical conditions and the names of the patient and doctor. The form is addressed to the Pathology Department of The Royal Infirmary, Bradford.
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An acute highly contagious infection, generally affecting the throat but occasionally other mucous membranes and the skin. Diphtheria has been largely eradicated due to world-wide vaccination efforts.
Glossary: diagnostic specimen kit