Other vaccine preventable diseases

Vaccines are available for the following diseases. Please refer to the Immunisation Schedule Queensland or speak to your doctor or local immunisation provider for further information. If you haven’t had the recommended vaccines during your childhood, you may be able to get catch-up vaccines.

Diphtheria

Diphtheria is caused by a type of bacteria, and it is spread by respiratory droplets that infect the throat and nose. It is a very serious disease: it can cause severe breathing difficulties, paralysis and heart failure. It is fatal for 1 in 7 sufferers. Cases of diphtheria are rare in Australia due to an effective vaccine.

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Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. The virus spreads via faeces infected with hepatitis A, and is normally found in contaminated food or water. You can also catch hepatitis A from being in contact with someone who is infected. Symptoms include jaundice (yellowing skin and eyes), fever, generalised aches and pains, decreased appetite, nausea and abdominal discomfort.

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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a very serious virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It lives in the blood and other bodily fluids. The virus mainly spreads by blood to blood contact, sexual contact or from a carrier mother to her baby during delivery. Untreated chronic hepatitis B can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer in 1 in 4 people

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Haemophilus Influenzae Type B

Haemophilus influenzae type B is a bacterial infection. It can have several serious consequences. This includes meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord), epiglottitis (internal swelling in the throat), infection of bones and joints, cellulitis and pneumonia. Meningitis and epiglottitis can quickly result in death. Epiglottitis is invariably fatal without treatment. Despite its name, it is not related to influenza.

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Mumps

Mumps causes swollen salivary glands and neck, as well as, fever, tiredness, loss of appetite and headache. It can cause permanent deafness, and, in males, it can also cause infertility. Adolescent or adult males can also develop inflamed testes. About 1 in 5,000 children will develop encephalitis (brain inflammation).

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Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can sometimes turn into invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and lead to meningitis (a potentially lethal infection of the brain covering), septicaemia (blood infection) and pneumonia. Pneumococcal disease causes a third of adult pneumonia cases and up to half of pneumonia hospitalisations. Pneumococcal disease is most common in children under 2 and in people over 65.

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Poliomyelitus

Poliomyelitus, or polio, is an infection caused by 3 types of polioviruses. It can affect the cells of the central nervous system and cause paralysis. Australia is certified as polio free by the World Health Organization. As there is a risk of polio being brought in from other countries, it is still important that we stay vaccinated against it.

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Rotavirus

Rotaviruses are a group of viruses that cause severe viral gastroenteritis in infants and young children. It is spread by ingesting faeces. It can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, severe dehydration, fever and even death.

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Rubella

Rubella is caused by the rubella virus and is sometimes called German measles. It is usually a mild illness but it can cause severe health problems in babies of infected pregnant women. Up to 90% of babies whose mothers get rubella in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy will have a major health problem such as deafness, blindness, heart problems, brain damage, growth problems, swelling in the brain, liver or lungs.

Rubella is spread when an infected person coughs, or sneezes and you breathe it in, or from a pregnant woman to her developing baby through the bloodstream. It can cause fever, joint pain, headache, runny nose, sore eyes, rash and swollen glands. Rubella mainly occurs in unvaccinated children, or in adolescents and young adults who have received less than 2 doses of the vaccine.

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Tetanus

Tetanus is caused by a toxin produced by bacteria Clostridium tetani. The bacteria, commonly found in soil, dust and manure, enters the body through wounds. It then causes painful muscular contractions and spasms. Involvement of the muscles of the jaw and neck has led to tetanus also being known as lock jaw. It is fatal for around 1 in 50 patients, with the very young and the elderly most at risk.

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Varicella (also known as Chickenpox)

Varicella is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It causes fluid filled blisters and low-grade fever. For most, varicella is a mild sickness in healthy children, however, complications such as pneumonia or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) are possible. Varicella is generally more severe in adults and can also cause shingles in later life.

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