Diphtheria is a contagious and potentially life-threatening bacterial infection.

It's spread by air-borne droplets that infect the throat and nose, or through direct contact with infected skin lesions. It can cause fever, sore throat or severe breathing difficulties and non-healing ulcers.

Vaccination against Diphtheria is the most effective way to prevent disease. Cases are rare in Australia because of an effective vaccination program.

Read more about diphtheria on the Queensland Government website.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver, caused by the hepatitis A virus.

The virus is usually spread when faeces (poo) from an infected person contaminates something which is transferred to another person's mouth.

Hand washing and good hygiene practices are essential and, together with vaccination, are the most effective ways of reducing the spread of hepatitis A infection.

Symptoms include:

  • jaundice, a yellowing skin and eyes
  • fever
  • aches and pains
  • decreased appetite
  • nausea
  • stomach pain.

Read more about hepatitis A on the Queensland Government website.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that can cause long lasting liver damage. It’s spread through contact with infected blood and other bodily fluids, including by:

  • blood to blood contact, for example sharing needles or injecting equipment
  • sexual contact
  • an infected mother to her baby during childbirth.

Some people who get hepatitis B may be sick for a short time and then the body clears the virus, and they recover. Other people can have the infection and experience lifelong illness.

Read more about hepatitis B on the Queensland Government website.

Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)

Hib is a life-threatening bacterial infection and can lead to serious illness, especially in children. It’s spread through contact with infected droplets from coughing or sneezing.

If a child has the following symptoms, seek urgent medical attention:

  • severe headache
  • stiff neck
  • fits or seizures
  • difficulty breathing
  • loss of consciousness.

Hib infections can cause:

  • meningitis, an infection of the membranes covering the brain
  • epiglottitis - inflammation of the flap and the top of the windpipe pneumonia.

Despite its name, it's not a type of flu (influenza).

Read more about Hib on the Queensland Government website.


Mumps is a contagious viral infection spread by direct contact with either saliva or droplets from the sneeze or cough of an infected person.

Symptoms can include:

  • fever
  • tiredness
  • loss of appetite
  • painful swelling and tenderness in the side of the face under the ears (the parotid gland)
  • inflammation of the testes in males.

Serious complications are uncommon but can occur including inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).

Read more about mumps on the Queensland Government website.

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing or contact with mucous from the nose and throat.

Symptoms can depend on where the infection is in the body. The bacteria can cause less serious infections such as middle ear infections, sinusitis and bronchitis.

Symptoms of a more serious infection may include:

  • fever
  • chills, sweats
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • stiff neck
  • extreme tiredness.

It's most common in children under 2 years and in people over 65 years.

Read more about pneumococcal on the Queensland Government website.

Poliomyelitus (polio)

Polio, is an infection caused by polioviruses.

Most infections are mild but it can affect the cells of the central nervous system and cause paralysis.

As a result of vaccination, Australia is certified as polio free by the World Health Organization. However, as it can still be brought in from other countries, it's important to get vaccinated.

Read more about polio on the Queensland Government website.


Rotaviruses are a group of highly contagious viruses found in faeces (poo) and mainly spread by touching a person or object carrying the virus and then touching your mouth.

The viruses can cause severe viral gastroenteritis in babies, toddlers and young children.

It can cause:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • severe dehydration
  • fever

Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread Rotaviruses.

Read more about rotavirus on the Queensland Government website.


Rubella is caused by the rubella virus and is sometimes called German Measles.

Rubella is usually a mild illness but it can cause severe health problems in babies of infected pregnant women.

Rubella is spread when an infected person coughs, or sneezes and you breathe it in. Pregnant women can also pass it to her baby through the bloodstream.

Symptoms can include:

  • fever
  • joint pain
  • headache
  • runny nose
  • sore eyes
  • rash
  • swollen glands.

Rubella is uncommon in Australia due to widespread immunisation programs.

Read more about rubella on the Queensland Government website.

Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Shingles (or herpes zoster) is caused by the chickenpox (varicella-zoster) virus. Only people who’ve had chickenpox before can get it.

When you recover from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in the nerves close to your spine. As you get older it’s possible it to reappear in the form of shingles.

Shingles is uncommon before the age of 12, most cases happen in people over 40. Read more about shingles on the Queensland Government website.


Tetanus is caused by a toxin produced by bacteria, often found in soil, dust and manure, and can enter the body through cuts and scratches.

Unvaccinated people are at risk of developing tetanus if a wound or cut is contaminated by the bacteria. Read more about tetanus on the Queensland Government website.

Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by infection with the TB bacteria that can affect any part of the body but most commonly affects the lungs.

The TB bacteria is spread through the air when a person with TB disease of the lung coughs, sneezes or speaks. If a person breathes in the TB bacteria, they may become infected.

TB infection can stay dormant in your body for months or years before making you ill. When TB infection is dormant, and the person has no symptoms this is called ‘latent TB infection’. A course of tablets (preventative therapy) may be offered to reduce the risk of developing TB disease.

TB disease, also referred to as active TB, is curable with special antibiotics. However, can be a very serious disease if it’s not diagnosed and treated early.

The vaccine for TB is bacille Calmette-Guérin (known as BCG) vaccine.

As the number of cases of TB in Australia is very low. In Queensland the vaccine is only recommended for specific groups that are most at risk and is usually only administered by special TB services.

Read more about TB and BCG vaccine and eligibility on the Queensland Government website.

Chickenpox (Varicella)

Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It’s spread person to person through coughing, sneezing and direct contact with the fluid in the blisters of the rash.

For most children, chickenpox is a mild illness of short duration with complete recovery. It can be more severe in newborn babies and adults, particularly in people who are immunocompromised. Infections in pregnancy can affect the unborn child.

Chickenpox can also cause shingles (herpes zoster) in later life.

Read more about chickenpox on the Queensland Government website.

Find out more

For more information about vaccination, contact your health provider or call 13 HEALTH(13 43 25 84) .

Find an vaccination provider

Information in your language

You can find information about vaccination in your language on the  Queensland Government website.

Last updated: July 2023