Vaccine preventable diseases

There are a number of diseases that, in most cases, can be prevented through protection from timely immunisation. In New Zealand, the National Immunisation Schedule protects children against eleven such diseases.

Each disease carries its own set of risks. Some are more serious at certain ages, whooping cough for example is most dangerous in very young babies. Some are rare but very serious for most people who get them, such as tetanus.

Some diseases, like measles, are very contagious although not everyone who gets it will be seriously ill. It is impossible to predict who will get seriously ill and who won’t.

Diphtheria is a rare but serious infectious disease. The bacteria usually causes infection of the throat and nose but can also cause skin infections. While some cases may be mild, the bacteria can...

Hib disease is caused by the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae type b. Humans are the only host of these bacteria. Infants and children less than five years of age are especially...

Hepatitis is a viral disease that attacks the liver. There are several types of viral hepatitis, labelled A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A is transferred through the faecal-oral route either by...

Hepatitis is a viral disease that attacks the liver. There are several types of viral hepatitis, labeled A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis B virus or HBV is very infectious and is spread from person to...

Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are common sexually transmitted viruses that can cause many types of cancer and other illnesses like genital warts. HPV can spread through skin to skin contact as well...

Influenza, or flu for short, is a common illness caused by a virus. Most cases occur during the winter months. It is easily spread to others through talking, coughing and sneezing. People are...

Measles is one of the most infectious diseases in humans. It is also known by the names English measles, morbilli and rubeola. Measles is now the third most common vaccine-preventable cause of...

Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. At least 13 groups have been identified and of these groups A, B, C, Y and W-135 are the most likely to cause...

Mumps is a viral illness. It is often recognised by swelling and tenderness of one or more parotid (salivary) glands although some people with mumps have no symptoms and others may only have...

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly infectious bacterial infection spread by coughing and sneezing. It causes severe bouts of coughing, which may be accompanied by vomiting...

Pneumococcal disease is caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. There are 90 types of Streptococcus pneumoniae producing a range of symptoms from relatively minor to...

Poliomyelitis is a highly contagious viral disease caused by three types of poliovirus (types 1, 2 and 3).  Prior to the development of polio vaccines nearly every person became infected, with the...

Rotavirus is a highly contagious virus that infects the intestine (gut) causing gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting) in infants and young children. Without immunisation almost all children in...

Rubella, also known as German measles, is caused by a virus. It is usually a mild disease, but when it occurs in pregnant women during pregnancy it can result in severe damage to the developing...

Tetanus, also called lockjaw, is caused by the action of tetanus toxin released by a spore-forming bacillus called Clostridium tetani. The bacillus and spores are found the soil around...

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection. Most cases in New Zealand are in people from overseas. When TB progresses from infection to disease it usually affects the lungs but may affect any...

Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a highly infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus. After recovery from chickenpox the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the nerves near the...