A comprehensive list of VPDs including the pipeline is available on the WHO website: https://www.who.int/teams/immunization-vaccines-and-biologicals/diseases

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne flavivirus found in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, mostly in urban and semi-urban settings. Day-biting Aedes mosquitos spread disease.

Diphtheria is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheria, which primarily infects the throat and upper airways, and produces a toxin affecting other organs.

Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease. It is a major global health problem, and the most serious type of viral hepatitis.

Hepatitis E is a viral liver infection which is usually self-limiting but may develop into fulminant hepatitis (acute liver failure).

Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) is bacteria responsible for severe pneumonia, meningitis and other invasive diseases almost exclusively in children aged less than 5 years.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer, which is the fourth most common cancer in women.

Influenza is a contagious, acute respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, usually influenza A or B subtypes. Influenza can cause mild to severe illness, and it may predispose to exacerbations of underlying disease or development of secondary bacterial infections.

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is the main cause of viral encephalitis in many countries of Asia. The JE virus is a flavivirus related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses. The virus exists in a transmission cycle between mosquitoes, pigs and/or water birds. Humans get infected when bitten by an infected mosquito.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It remains an important cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.

Meningococcal meningitis, caused by Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis and septicaemia. Endemic disease occurs worldwide, with outbreaks most frequently occurring in the “Meningitis Belt” of sub-Saharan Africa

Mumps is an infection caused by a virus and spread human-to-human via direct contact or by airborne droplets. It is sometimes called infectious parotitis, and it primarily affects the salivary glands.

Pertussis is a highly contagious disease of the respiratory tract caused by Bordetella pertussis, a bacterium that lives in the mouth, nose, and throat. Many children who contract pertussis have coughing spells that last four to eight weeks.

Pneumococcal diseases, caused by Streptococcus pneumonia bacterium. The bacterium is the cause of a number of common diseases, ranging from serious diseases such as meningitis, septicaemia and pneumonia to milder but commoner infections such as sinusitis and otitis media.

Polio (poliomyelitis) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis in a matter of hours. Polio is spread through person-to-person contact.

Rabies is a zoonotic viral disease which infects domestic and wild animals. It is transmitted to other animals and humans through close contact with saliva from infected animals (i.e., bites, scratches, licks on broken skin and mucous membranes). Once symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is fatal to both animals and humans.

Rotaviruses are the most common cause of severe diarrhoeal disease in young children throughout the world. According to WHO 2008 estimates, about 450 000 children aged <5 years die each year from vaccine-preventable rotavirus infections; most of these children live in low-income countries.

Rubella is transmitted in airborne droplets when infected people sneeze or cough, rubella is an acute, usually mild viral disease traditionally affecting susceptible children and young adults worldwide. Rubella infection just before conception and in early pregnancy may result in miscarriage, foetal death or congenital defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

Tetanus is a non-communicable disease contracted through exposure to the spores of the bacterium, Clostridium tetani, that exists worldwide in soil and in animal intestinal tracts, and as such can contaminate many surfaces and substances. Tetanus occurring during pregnancy or within 6 weeks of the end of pregnancy is called “maternal tetanus”, while tetanus occurring within the first 28 days of life is called “neonatal tetanus”.

Tick-borne encephalitis is an important cause of viral infections of the central nervous system in eastern, central and northern European countries, and in northern China, Mongolia, and the Russian Federation.

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). It is a curable and preventable disease that most often affects the lungs. TB is transmitted from person to person, by people with pulmonary (lung) TB who release Mtb into the air through coughing, sneezing or spitting.

Typhoid fever is an infection caused by the Salmonella typhi bacterium, usually through ingestion of contaminated food or water. The acute illness is characterized by prolonged fever, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, and constipation or sometimes diarrhoea

Varicella, also commonly referred to as “chickenpox”, is an acute and highly contagious disease. It is caused by primary infection with the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Varicella occurs worldwide and in the absence of a vaccination programme, affects nearly every person by mid-adulthood.

Yellow Fever (YF) is a mosquito-borne viral disease of humans and other primates and is currently endemic in over 43 countries in the tropical regions of Africa and The Americas. Infection with the YF virus can be asymptomatic or cause a wide spectrum of disease, from mild symptoms to severe illness with bleeding, jaundice and, ultimately, death.

Page created on 30 January 2015

Page last updated on 12 February 2022

References: World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).