AskDocQ: don’t hesitate… vaccinate

vaccination vaccine injection shot measles flu
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There’s currently a spate of infectious disease outbreaks around the world, including a measles outbreak. So now is the perfect time for a reminder about the benefits of vaccination, writes Dr Fiona Bisshop.

Measles is making the headlines after a series of outbreaks across the world, including a string of cases in Brisbane.

Most local cases involved returning travellers. Measles is a highly contagious virus which can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis (brain infection) and death.

Measles is not a harmless infection. Anti-vaxxers who suggest so are irresponsible and uninformed.

Babies are particularly vulnerable. Until routine vaccinations at the age of 12 months, they have no protection.

Public health authorities urge people who never received childhood vaccinations to get a booster shot. Especially those planning to travel to areas known for high numbers of cases.

Influenza is back in town with a vengeance and promises to be nastier than ever this year.

Already we are seeing a spate of hospitalizations with complications from the flu. You don’t have to be old or unwell — the flu can put healthy young people in intensive care within days.

The 1918 influenza epidemic killed more people than World War 1, and most of the victims were young adults.

The flu vaccine offers protection against the prevalent strains.  Unless you plan on quarantining yourself for the next four months, get the shot.

Get vaccinated for meningococcal

Meningococcal disease is again doing the rounds, and the target group is teenagers and young adults.

There have also been reported outbreaks in the gay male community in some large American cities.

Fatal if untreated, even those treated with antibiotics suffer a mortality rate of 10%. Also, meningitis can cause sepsis (blood infection) and loss of fingers, toes and limbs.

There are vaccinations available against the five main strains. Consider this vaccination, especially if visiting the USA.

Well, that wraps up my contagion report for the month. Happy holidays folks, and don’t forget, a quick prick now will save you from a month in the ICU!

Dr Fiona Bisshop specialises in LGBTIQ health. For more by Dr Bisshop visit, follow @DrFionaBisshop on Twitter, or send your health questions to

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