Diseases you can be armed against

MEASLES is not the only preventable nasty bug to have been lurking this summer.

Figures provided by the Sunshine Coast Public Health Unit show there have been many confirmed cases of other vaccine-preventable illnesses.

Dr Andrew Langley, from Queensland Health, and Nambour GP Wayne Herdy have helped provide a breakdown of what's been circulating on the Coast, whether the figures are on the increase and if you need a booster vaccine.

  • Chickenpox: 122* cases, compared to 115 in the same period last year. Natural infection (getting sick once) should provide lifelong im munity. Booster vaccines not required.
  • Influenza: 71* cases. This is 24 more than the same period last year. Annual boosters are needed.
  • Rotovirus: 21 cases. Nearly double last year's 13 cases. Boosters not required, but natural infection doesn't provide protection.
  • Pertussis (whooping cough): 19 cases, significantly lower than recent years. Booster vaccine still needed every 10 years as antibody levels wane.
  • Meningococcal: Fewer than five cases, similar to recent years. All forms of meningococcal require hospitalisation. Booster vaccine not required. Can be contracted twice.
  • Pneumococcal: Five cases, which is higher than usual. Illnesses range from mild infections, such as ear infection, to pneumonia and life-threatening infections of the bloodstream and central nervous system, such as meningitis. There is a complicated booster timetable relating to age and presence of risk factors. No lifelong immunity is available.
  • Mumps: Fewer than five* cases. Similar to recent years. If you're not sure whether you've had two Mumps, Measles and Rubella, you can get doses for extra protection. Natural infection should give lifelong immunity.
  • Rubella: Fewer than five cases, similar to recent years. Also covered by Mumps, Measles, Rubella vaccine. Boosters not required.
  • Hepatitis B: Fewer than 10 cases of acute and chronic Hep B, which is lower than recent years. The liver disease is only transmitted by blood or certain body fluids. People need three doses for protection, no boosters required.
  • Measles: Three confirmed cases. Natural infection should provide lifelong immunity. Boosters not required (if you've had vaccine).

The above cases marked with an asterisk are those typically diagnosed without laboratory investigations, thus may be an underestimation of the total number of cases.


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