It is important for adults to be protected against the following diseases:
Herpes-zoster (shingles) is rash caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV). People who have had chickenpox are at risk of developing shingles as the virus can reactivate years later. One in three people will develop shingles in their lifetime. As a person gets older, the risk of getting shingles increases. Although most people recover within a few weeks, some go on to develop chronic nerve pain called post herpectic neuralgia. This may be severe and can sometimes go on for months.
A dose of shingles vaccine can be given to adults 50 years and over.
The shingles vaccine is provided free for people aged 70 to 79 under the National Immunisation Program. To receive the immunisation, visit a GP or vaccination provider.
Measles outbreaks occur in some communities mainly as a result of unvaccinated travellers and visitors importing the disease from overseas. It is important to be adequately protected. Most people born before 1966 will have been exposed to the wild-type measles virus and therefore do not require vaccination, while people born after 1966 require two doses of MMR vaccine (at least one month apart).
Whooping cough (pertussis)
Whooping cough (pertussis) is an extremely contagious respiratory infection. The disease causes uncontrolled coughing and vomiting, which can last for several months and can be particularly dangerous for babies under the age of 12 months. Whooping cough is spread when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes small droplets into the air, which may be breathed in by those nearby. Infection may be spread by contact with hands, tissues and other articles soiled by infected nose and throat discharges.
Whooping cough can cause severe disease in the elderly. A single booster dose is recommended for older people if they haven’t received a previous dose in the last 10 years.