Diseases prevented by routine vaccination

Diphtheria

Diphtheria is a serious disease of the nose, throat and skin.

Diphtheria can cause:

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • swollen glands
  • difficulty breathing
  • heart failure
  • paralysis
  • death

Complications include breathing problems, heart failure and nerve damage. Diphtheria kills about 1 of every 10 people who get the disease. It is most often passed to others through coughing and sneezing.

Prevent diphtheria by getting the vaccine.

Learn more about the Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) - a five-in-one vaccine.

Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib)

Even though "influenzae" is a part of its name, the Hib germ does not cause influenza. Before the Hib vaccine was used, the Hib germ was a common cause of serious infections in children. Hib was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in children two months to five years of age.  Meningitis is a serious infection of the fluid and lining that covers the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can cause brain damage, learning and developmental problems, deafness and blindness. One out of 20 children with meningitis can die and serious disability (nerve damage, deafness) occurs in about 15 percent of cases.

The Hib germ also causes a serious infection of the throat near the voice box. This infection is called epiglottitis. This can make it difficult for the child to breathe. The Hib germ can also cause infection of the lungs (pneumonia) and bone and joint infections.

Children under five years are more likely to get Hib disease. Children who attend childcare centres are even more likely to catch it. The Hib germ spreads to others through coughing and sneezing.

Learn more about the Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) - a five-in-one vaccine.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a highly contagious virus that affects your liver. Your liver makes and stores energy for your body, cleans your blood, and helps to digest food.

Hepatitis B spreads from person to person, through contact with infected blood or body fluids such as:

From a mother to her baby at birth

During sex

Getting a human bite

Sharing dirty needles

The virus can stay alive on things like razors or toothbrushes for up to one week. Hepatitis B does NOT spread through coughing, hugs or using the same dishes as an infected person.

Hepatitis B can lead to:

Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eye.

Fever

Weakness

Loss of appetite

Joint pain

Symptoms may take several months to appear. Many infected people may not have these symptoms. They may not know they are infected unless a blood test is taken.

There is no cure for hepatitis B. Most people are able to get rid of this virus, but some get sick and even die. 6 to 10% of infected people have it for life and can pass it on to others. It can cause life-long damage to the liver (cirrhosis) and liver cancer.

Prevent hepatitis B:

Get the Hepatitis B vaccine

Never touch another person's blood

Make sure sterile tools are used for tattooing or body piercing

Do not share razors, toothbrushes or other personal care items

Find out more about the Hepatitis B vaccine.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Over 100 types of HPV can infect different parts of the body. Up to 75% of us come in contact with HPV during our life. It can go away within two years without treatment, but for some people, it can lead to:

Anal and genital warts

Cancers of the cervix, penis, and anus

Cancers of the head and neck

Genital warts look like small bumps in the genital area. They sometimes have a cauliflower-like appearance. They range in colour from pink, flesh-colour, white, brown, or grey. A health care provider can examine you for genital warts. Genital warts are not easy to get rid of. Treatment can be painful.

HPV spreads mostly through skin-to-skin contact with the genital areas of someone who has an HPV infection. This includes the penis, scrotum, vagina, vulva or anus. Kissing or touching the genital area can spread HPV. It is not necessary to have intercourse to get HPV. Many people with HPV don't know they have the virus and may go on to infect others.

Prevent HPV:

Practice abstinence

Get the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

If you are sexually active, use a condom; you can still get HPV but it lowers the risk

Get tested! Although there is no routine diagnostic test for HPV, pap tests can detect pre-cancers of the cervix

Find out more about the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD)

IPD is a bacterial infection that causes any of the following:

  • pneumonia (lung infection)
  • bacteraemia (infection of the blood)
  • meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord)

These infections can cause death or long lasting issues like deafness. Pneumococcal infection is also a frequent cause of ear infections.

The bacteria spread through droplets in the air from coughing or sneezing. Bacteria can also spread through the saliva of an infected person. Sharing common items can spread the bacteria. Some items include:

  • beverages (bottles, straws)
  • eating utensils
  • chewing on toys

Sometimes antibiotics do not work well against these bacteria. This is called antibiotic resistance. When there is antibiotic resistance, it is more difficult to treat the infection.

Prevent IPD. Get the vaccine.

Find out more about the Pneumococcal conjugate-13 vaccine.

Measles 

Measles can be a serious infection. It causes:

  • high fever
  • cough
  • rash
  • runny nose
  • watery eyes

Measles lasts for 1 to 2 weeks. 1 out of every 10 children who has measles develops ear infections or pneumonia (lung infection). About 1 out of every 1,000 children with measles develops encephalitis, an infection of the brain. This may cause brain damage and developmental delays. Measles can also make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage or give birth prematurely.

Measles is very contagious. It spreads from person to person easily and quickly. People can get measles from an infected person through coughing or sneezing around them or simply talking to them. It is contagious 4 days after the onset of rash and up to 4 days after.

Prevent the spread of measles through getting the vaccine. People who contract measles will need to be isolated to control the spread.

Learn more about the Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) - three-in-one vaccine.

Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal disease (MD) is caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. About 10% of people carry the bacteria in the back of their throat or nose, although most people never get sick. MD makes the lining of the brain and spinal cord swollen (meningitis). It can also cause a bad infection of the blood.

MD spreads through direct contact with the spit or mucous of an infected person. This might happen when:

  • kissing
  • sharing eating utensils
  • sharing drinking glasses or water bottles
  • sharing cigarettes

It is NOT spread by being in the same room or breathing the same air as someone who has MD.

Prevent MD:

Find out more about the Meningococcal conjugate-C vaccine vaccine.

Find out more about the Meningococcal conjugate ACWY vaccine.

Mumps

Mumps is a virus that causes:

  • fever
  • headache
  • painful swelling of the cheek, jaw and neck

It usually happens in children between 5 and 9 years of age, but can also affect very young children. It can develop into encephalitis, an infection of the brain. Mumps meningitis does not usually cause permanent damage. Recently, there have been disease outbreaks among teens and young adults.

Mumps can cause:

  • Painful, swollen testicles in about 1 out of 4 teenage boys or adult men
  • Painful infection of the ovaries in 1 of 20 women
  • Increased risk of miscarriage during the first 3 months of pregnancy
  • Deafness in some people

People can get mumps from an infected person coughing or sneezing around them or simply talking to them. It can also spread through contact with the saliva of an infected person.

Prevent mumps by getting the vaccine.

Learn more about the Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) - three-in-one vaccine.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Pertussis is a common disease. The infection causes prolonged coughs in youth and adults. Pertussis is most serious for babies. This cough can cause a person to vomit or young babies may even stop breathing for a short period of time. The cough can last for weeks. It can be hard to eat, drink or even breathe.

Pertussis can cause other serious problems such as:

  • pneumonia
  • brain damage
  • seizures

Pertussis spreads from an infected person to others through coughing or sneezing. Adults are the main source for pertussis infection in babies and young children. Infected adults and youth can pass on the disease to infants who have not yet had their immunization vaccines. These infants will not be fully protected. They are at greater risk of serious problems.

Prevent pertussis by getting the pertussis vaccine.

Learn more about the Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) - a five-in-one vaccine.

Polio

Polio is a dangerous disease that people can get from drinking water or eating food contaminated with the polio germ. It is also spread from person to person. This disease can cause nerve damage and can paralyze a person for life.

It can paralyze muscles used for breathing, talking, eating and walking. It can also cause death. Although polio has been eradicated in the Americas, there is still a risk of catching this disease through travel or from cases coming from abroad.

There is no cure for polio, only treatment. Prevent polio by getting your vaccine.

 Learn more about the Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) - a five-in-one vaccine.

Rotavirus

Rotavirus is a common infection that causes vomiting and diarrhea in infants and children. Rotavirus is very contagious. It spreads easily from children who are already infected to other infants, children and sometimes adults. Most children are infected with rotavirus at least once by 5 years of age.

Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • vomiting
  • frequent watery diarrhea
  • stomach pain which may last from 3 to 8 days

It is rare, but some children under 2 may have diarrhea so severe that it requires a hospital visit.

Symptoms appear about 24 to 72 hours after a person has been exposed to the rotavirus infection.

In infants and children, rotavirus can lead to loss of body fluids (dehydration). This may require a visit to the emergency department or admission to a hospital. Intravenous (IV) fluids may need to be given. Children with weakened immune systems may experience more severe illness for a longer period of time.

Prevent rotavirus. Get the vaccine.

Find out more about the Rotavirus (PDF)  vaccine.

Rubella

Rubella is usually a mild illness in children. Up to half of the infections with rubella occur without a rash.

Rubella may cause:

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • swollen glands in the neck
  • rash on the face and neck
  • temporary aches and pains and swelling of the joints (common in teens and adults, especially females)
  • temporary blood clotting
  • encephalitis, an infection of the brain

Rubella can be followed by chronic arthritis (inflamed joints). 

Rubella is most dangerous for pregnant women. If a woman gets rubella in the early part of a pregnancy, it is likely that her baby will develop congenital rubella syndrome. Her baby can be severely disabled or die.

Rubella spreads by contact with an infected person through coughing, sneezing or talking to them. It can also be spread by contact with the saliva of infected people.

Prevent rubella by getting the vaccine.

Learn more about the Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) - three-in-one vaccine.

Tetanus

Tetanus is a serious disease. The germs make spores that live in soil and dust. You may get the disease if dirt with the tetanus germ gets into a cut in the skin. Tetanus germs are found everywhere, usually in soil, dust and manure. Tetanus does not spread from person to person.

Tetanus causes cramping of the muscles in the neck, arms, legs and stomach. It may also cause painful convulsions which may be severe enough to break bones. Even with early treatment, tetanus kills 2 out of every 10 people who get it.

Getting your tetanus vaccine is the only way to prevent the disease.

Learn more about the Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) - a five-in-one vaccine.

Varicella (Chicken Pox)

Chickenpox/varicella is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Many parents will have had chickenpox. You may know it as a red rash with blister. The chickenpox vaccine is now provided to all children as part of the routine immunization schedule. It is required to attend school for children born in 2010 or later.

Children with chickenpox may have:

  • fatigue
  • a headache
  • fever up to 39°C
  • chills
  • muscle or joint aches (a day or two before the red rash begins)
  • raised itchy red blisters that can be anywhere on the body

Blisters dry up and form scabs in 4 to 5 days. Complications of chickenpox can include:

  • skin, ear and spinal cord infections
  • pneumonia
  • encephalitis, an infection of the brain

This risk of complications increases with age.

Chickenpox spreads easily from person to person. It is passed from an infected person to others through coughing, sneezing and even talking. You can also get chickenpox if you touch a blister or the liquid from a blister.

Prevent chickenpox by getting the vaccine.

Learn more about the Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine.

 

 

 

 

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