|Cholera||Cholera is caused by a bacterial infection which leads to a sudden onset of watery diarrhoea which is painless and profuse. Severe cases can lead to death. The bacteria are usually transmitted through food and water which has been contaminated with human waste. Shellfish from waters contaminated with human waste have also been identified as responsible for causing outbreaks. ||The disease is considered endemic in Africa, Asia, South America and Central America, and epidemics are common following events such as natural disasters and civil unrest, which can lead to food and water supplies to become contaminated.
Cases in Australia (between 2 and 6 a year) are almost always found to be in individuals who have become infected after travelling to endemic areas overseas, although the risk of infection to travellers who are able to access safe water sources and maintain hygiene standards around food preparation is considered low, even within countries where cholera is endemic.
|More information on Cholera||Information Cholera
Immunise Health Handbook – Cholera|
| Diphtheria||Diphtheria is a bacterial infection which is spread through coughing and sneezing, contact with skin lesions or from contact with soiled articles. The disease affects mucous membranes, although the most common is pharyngeal diphtheria. This is characterised by a greyish or greenish membrane in the upper respiratory tract, which can lead to obstruction of the airway and hence suffocation.||Before the introduction of a diphtheria vaccine, diphtheria was responsible for more deaths than any other infectious disease. Since the vaccine became available and vaccination rates have increased, diphtheria has virtually disappeared from Australia. Recent cases in Australia have developed from infections imported from overseas travel.|
|More information on Diphtheria||NPS – Infections – Diptheria||Immunise Health Handbook – Diptheria|
|Haemophilus influenza type b|| Haemophilus influenza is a bacteria found in the upper respiratory tract. There are six capsular types (a to f) and prior to vaccination, almost all infections were caused by the b strain. Infection with Hib can cause meningitis, epiglottitis, septic arthritis, cellulitis and pneumonia. Often infected infants are drowsy, with reduced feeding and a high fever. Inflammation of the epiglottis (epiglottitis) leads to obstruction of the airway which can include a soft stridor and sometimes drooling. Cases including meningitis and epiglottitis are almost always fatal without treatment, and even with treatment the case-fatality rate is around 3%, while 15-30% of those infected have long term side effects.||Prior to the introduction of the Hib vaccination, 95% of epiglottitis cases were caused by Hib infection. Since the widespread use of the vaccine, there has been a reduction of at least 95% in Hib case notifications.
Cases were predominantly seen in children under 5, due to developing immunity to the disease as they were exposed.
|More information on Haemophilus influenza type b||Information Haemophilus Influenza Type B
NCIRS – Fact Sheet – Influenza B
Immunise Health Handbook – Influenza Type B
|Hepatitis A||In children, infection is usually asymptomatic or causes very mild symptoms. In adults, the disease is characterised by a 4-10 day period of fever, malaise, weakness and loss of appetite, along with nausea and vomiting. Dark urine is generally the first indication of acute infection and is followed by jaundice and pale faeces a day or two later. Some abdominal discomfort or pain can occur in the vicinity of the liver. Generally people recover within a month of the infection, and the infection does not cause chronic liver disease. Once a person has been infected, they have lifelong immunity, although relapse has been found in around 10% of infected people.|
|It is generally transmitted through the faecal-oral route, and only a small amount of the virus is presumed to be necessary to cause infection.
Hepatitis A is caused by a viral infection of the liver. The virus can survive on surfaces outside of a human host and can survive in food at room temperature for several hours, and it is somewhat resistant to heating and freezing of the food.
|More information about Hepatitis A||Information – Liver Disorders – Hepatitis A
Hepatitis Australia – Hep A
|Immunise Health Handbook – Hep A|
|Hepatitis B||The incubation period for hep B is between 45 and 180 days, and it is infectious for several weeks before the infected person shows signs of acute illness, until the end of the acute illness phase.
Symptoms include fever, malaise, jaundice, weakness and loss of appetite, along with nausea and vomiting and abdominal pain (particularly on the upper right). Dark urine and light coloured stools can also be present.
Infection in children and babies, espcieally those under 1 year old, can often be asymptomatic, whereas 30-50% of infections in adults will be symptomatic.
|Hepatitis B (hep B) is a viral infection of the liver and is the most commonly identified liver infection in the world. It travels to the liver via the bloodstream and infects the liver, triggering an immune response by the body.
Up to 10% of people infected as adults and up to 90% of those infected as young infants develop chronic hep B infections.
|More information about Hepatitis B||Hepatitis Australia – Hep B Facts
Hepatitis Australia – Hep B
|Immunise Health Handbook – Hepatitis B|
|Influenza||Infections can range from mild to severe and can include tiredness, fevers, chills, headaches, loss of appetite, muscle pain, cough, runny or blocked nose, sneezing, and can also include organ failure or death, even in otherwise healthy people. Complications such as bronchitis, croup, ear infections, pneumonia, heart complications such as myocarditis and pericarditis, encephalitis, and Reye syndrome.
||The flu is spread through coughing and sneezing, or coming in contact with infected tissues or surfaces.
Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus which can be classified as types A, B and C. However, only types A and B generally cause disease in people. Influenza viruses have two proteins on their surface which help the virus attach to the host during infection (haemagglutinin (H)) and to release new viral cells (neuraminidase (N)). It is the combination of these proteins that gives different strains of influenza their name (such as A(H3N2)), and the different combinations of these proteins are the reason that the flu vaccine is reviewed every year, to ensure that it offers protection against the predominant strains circulating that year.
The impact of the flu is considered to be underestimated, and it’s believed that around 13,500 people are hospitalised in Australia each year due to the flu or complications related to infection, and around 3,000 people aged over 50 die from the flu each year. The flu particularly impacts the elderly and very young children under 5 years old.
|More information about Influenza ||ISG.org.au
Immunise Health – Influenza
Immunise Health Handbook – Influenza
|Japanese encephalitis||Japanese encephalitis is a disease caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. The incubation period is generally between 5 and 15 days.
It presents as an acute or sudden onset neurological illness, with headache, fever, convulsions, neurological symptoms and lowered or loss of consciousness. The disease has a high case-fatality rate of around 30% and around 50% of those who recover have a high rate of long lasting effects. It is also possible to have an asymptomatic infection.
|The disease is found in many parts of Asia, including India, Southeast Asia, China, eastern Indonesia (including Bali) and Papua New Guinea. Cases have also been recorded in the Torres Strait and North Queensland. To date, there have been five|
cases acquired in Australia since the first in 1995. Since 2001, nine cases have been identified in Australia, with all contracted overseas. The disease is generally found in pigs and wading birds, and is spread between these animals by mosquitoes. Infection of humans usually occurs when in close proximity to these type of animals, such as rural areas with flooded rice fields which provide breeding grounds for the mosquitoes.
|More information about Japanese encephalitis||CDC – Japanese Encephalitis||Immunise Health Handbook – Japanese Encephalitis|
|Measles||The incubation period for measles is around 10 to 14 days and the early symptoms during the onset period are fever, tiredness, a cough, a runny or blocked nose and sore red eyes which may include conjunctivitis. This period usually lasts around 2 to 4 days before the rash appears, usually on the face and upper neck before spreading over the body.|
Measles is considered a severe disease and often has complications such as ear infections, pneumonia and diarrhoea. Encephalitis can also occur and if it develops, around 10-15% will die. Many survivors suffer permanent brain damage. A further complication is subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) which can occur in people who have been infected with measles, and usually develops around 7 years after infection. It causes brain damage and there is no treatment and no recovery.
|Measles is caused by a virus, which can survive for up to two hours in the air. It is a highly infectious disease which is spread through coughs and sneezes.
Measles is no longer actively circulating in Australia, although cases do still occur – usually transported by people who are not immune to measles returning from overseas with the infection. Measles is still an issue worldwide, and in 2014 there were nearly 115,000 deaths recorded – that’s around 13 deaths every hour, and measles is one of the main causes of death in young children worldwide.
|More information about Measles||Measles Fact Sheet||Immunise Health Handbook – Measles|
|Meningococcal disease||Meningococcal septicaemia and meningitis can be difficult to diagnose due to their sudden onset and non-specificity of symptoms, which can include fever, a rash, headache, a stiff neck, sensitivity to light, convulsions, aches and pains, being thirsty, vomiting or feeling nauseated. The disease is characterised by a rash which does not disappear when pressed, but this doesn’t always show up. Around 5-10% of people infected will die, even with treatment, and there can be long term side effects such as scarring, deafness, neurological issues and limb deformity.||Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacterium called Neisseria meningitidis which has 13 known serogroups. Five of these serogroups are commonly known to cause disease and vaccines are available for these five groups – known as serogroups A, B, C, W135 and Y. Infection with the bacteria can lead to invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) and can include septicaemia and meningitis. Other infections such as conjunctivitis, pneumonia and arthritis can also occur.|
|More information about Meningococcal disease||http://www.meningococcal.org.au/
Better Health – VIC – Meningococcal
|Immunise Health Handbook – Meningococcal Disease|
|Mumps||Around a third of cases are asymptomatic, but symptomatic disease can range from mild to severe. Symptoms include fever, a headache, tiredness, muscle aches and pains and loss of appetite. It also causes swelling of the parotid glands around the mouth and in front of the ears in 60 to 70% of cases. Infected people are infectious for around 2 days before the symptoms first appear, but this may be up to 7 days before the swelling of the parotid glands appears.
Severe complications are rare, but can include meningitis (around 10% of cases), mumps encephalitis (1-2 per 10,000 cases and a fatality rate of around 1%), mumps meningoencephalitis can lead to deafness, although permanent deafness is rare, orchitis (swelling of one or both of the testicles – occurs in between 15 and 30% of cases in males who have gone through puberty) although sterility is rare. Other glands and organs can also be affected. Infection with mumps during early pregnancy (in the first trimester) can lead to miscarriage, although it isn’t associated with congenital abnormalities.
|Mumps is caused by a virus, called Rubulavirus, and has an incubation period of 12-25 days. It’s spread through coughing and sneezing saliva droplets, and also through contact with saliva and urine.
Mumps is found worldwide. People born between the late 1960s and mid-1980s (particularly those born between 1978 and 1982) are considered to be at greater risk of mumps if they have not been vaccinated appropriately, as they may have missed out on exposure to mumps as a child as well as not receiving appropriate vaccination at the recommended time. Before vaccination, mumps was considered a childhood disease, but since 2000, cases in Australia have been mostly in the 20-34 age bracket. Between 1996 and 2006, 5 adults over the age of 80 were reported as dying from mumps.
|More information about Mumps||SA Health – Mumps|
|Immunise Health Handbook – Mumps|
|Pertussis (Whooping Cough) ||Whooping cough generally starts as a cold-like illness, with a runny or blocked nose, a mild fever and tiredness. A cough can develop quite early in the illness and gets worse over time, leading to uncontrollable coughing fits which can also cause the person to vomit or choke. In babies, the cough may not be present or may not seem severe, but they can be seen to stop breathing and to turn blue, as well as being lethargic and not interested in feeding.
Whooping cough is most dangerous for babies under 6 months of age, with around 4-5 of every 100 babies under three months old who contract whooping cough dying from the disease.
|Pertussis or whooping cough is caused by bacteria called Bordetella pertussis, and has an incubation period of 7 to 20 days. It’s highly contagious and in a non-immune population, one infectious person is likely to infect up to 90% of household contacts though coughing and sneezing. Often the typical whoop sound (caused when taking a deep gasp for breath after a coughing fit) isn’t present in people who have had previous vaccinations. The cough can last for up to three months, and also can cause sleep disturbance due to coughing, and even fractured ribs from the severe nature of the cough. It can also cause incontinence and burst blood vessels from the violent coughing fits.
The disease itself is one that comes in a cyclical fashion, with peaks and troughs every three to five years. This is due to waning immunity, which occurs with both vaccination and infection with the disease.
|More information about Pertussis (Whooping Cough) ||NCIRS – Vaccinations Pregnancy Fact Sheet||Immunise Health Handbook – Whooping Cough|