Infectious Disease

Public Health monitors more than 60 reportable diseases and infections in Waterloo Region. Local data on the incidence, distribution, and trends over time for infectious diseases can be found in the Annual Infectious Disease Surveillance Report dashboard

Local trends and data on respiratory virus activity in Waterloo Region can be found in the Integrated Respiratory Disease Surveillance Report and Wastewater Surveillance.


Chickenpox is a common, vaccine preventable childhood infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It's most common in young children and is usually mild, but can be very uncomfortable for your child. When adolescents and adults get it, they can be very sick.

The chickenpox vaccine is required for school-aged children in Ontario.

Chickenpox and Pregnancy 


COVID-19 is an illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It was first identified in late 2019 and declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Symptoms of COVID-19 can include, but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, decreased/loss of taste or smell, runny nose/nasal congestion, headache, fatigue, sore throat, muscles aches, joint pain, and gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting/diarrhea).

For more information, see our COVID-19 webpage.


Diphtheria is a preventable, contagious disease of the nose, throat and skin. It is passed to others through coughing and sneezing. It causes sore throat, fever and chills. It can lead to breathing problems, heart failure and nerve damage.

The diphtheria vaccine is required for school-aged children in Ontario.

Ebola Virus

Ebola is a deadly disease that causes hemorrhagic fever in humans and animals and is spread through direct contact with the blood, body fluids or tissues of an infected person.
Group A Streptococcal Disease
Group A streptococcus (Strep) bacteria are commonly found in the nose and throat and on the skin, especially in children. It can cause illnesses such as "strep" throat, scarlet fever and skin infections (impetigo or cellulitis). In rare instances it can cause more serious infections in previously healthy persons.
Haemophilus Influenza B Disease
Haemophilus Influenza B (Hib) does not cause influenza. Hib infections are serious but preventable. Hib germ may lead to meningitis or may cause a serious infection of the throat near the voice box. This infection is called epiglottitis. This can make it difficult for the child to breathe. Hib germ can also cause infection of the lungs and bone and joint infections.

The Hib vaccine is available.

The Hepatitis virus attacks the liver and can cause mild to severe illness. Hepatitis is commonly transmitted through consumption of contaminated food or water or through sexual contact.

For more information visit our Hepatitis page.

 For information visit our HIV and AIDS page.
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a respiratory illness caused by viruses that affects the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu season, the peak time for influenza, is November through April each year. The flu shot is your best defence to protect yourself and your family against the flu.

For more information visit our Flu page.

Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease is an infection caused by bacteria carried by black-legged ticks, however not all black legged ticks are infected. The disease spreads when an infected tick bites a person.

For more information visit our Lyme disease page.

Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Measles is a highly contagious disease and is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths in children worldwide.

The measles vaccine is required for school-aged children in Ontario. 

For more information visit our measles page.

Meningitis is a preventable infection of the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord (meninges). Viral meningitis is an infection caused by viruses and bacterial meningitis is an infection caused by bacteria. Bacterial meningitis, such as Meningococcal Meningitis and Meningococcemia, are rare but serious infections caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitides.

The meningitis vaccine is required for school-aged children in Ontario.

For more information visit our meningitis page.


People who meet the Provincial criteria for vaccination to prevent mpox infection can book an appointment (see blue button below) or call 519-575-4400 to speak to a representative. 

Given the current epidemiology in Ontario, IMVAMUNE should be offered as a two-dose primary series, with at least 28 days between first and second doses for individuals currently eligible for pre-exposure.

  • To reduce the risk of potential interactions, please don't book an appointment within 14 days of receiving another vaccine, and don’t book any other vaccines within 14 days after receiving the IMVAMUNE vaccine
  • Please book only one appointment per person
  • If there are no more available appointments, please check back later as we continue to add more appointments based on vaccine availability
  • An OHIP card is not required
  • The vaccine is free and available to all people who are eligible

Book Your Appointment Online

Please note: Internet Explorer (IE) does not work with the online booking platform. The preferred browsers for the online booking system are Chrome and Edge. For iPhone, please use Safari.

Benefits of registering for an online account:

You can book your appointment online as a guest without registering and creating an account in Pomelo. However, we do encourage you to register and create an account if you would like to be able to access the following benefits:

  • Manage your appointments online (including cancelling or changing the date and time of your appointment)
  • Receive reminder emails before upcoming appointments
  • Use your profile for other Region of Waterloo Public Health services available on Pomelo

Our online booking portal is managed by Pomelo, a new, integrated platform used by several Region of Waterloo Public Health services, to provide better and more seamless care.

Mpox is a rare viral illness that causes fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes and lethargy, followed by a rash over the person’s body. It is spread through close direct contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with provinces and health units to investigate cases of mpox in Canada.

If you think you have been exposed to mpox or if you have symptoms of the virus:

  • Self-isolate
  • Wear a mask
  • Contact a health care provider (primary care, walk-in clinic, or hospital if symptoms are severe)

Health Care Providers can find more information about testing and infection prevention and control measures on our Health Care Provider webpage.

Mumps is a viral infection that can cause fever, headaches and swelling of the salivary glands in the cheeks and jaw. It can lead to swelling of the lining covering the brain and spinal cord, deafness, gentile infection and miscarriages.

The mumps vaccine is required for school-aged children in Ontario.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Pertussis or whooping cough is a serious disease especially in children. Children who get this disease have spells of violent coughing that can cause them to vomit or stop breathing for a short period of time. The cough can last for weeks and make it hard for child to eat, drink or even breathe. Pneumonia can occur in more than two out of ten children with pertussis. It can also cause brain damage and death.

The pertussis vaccine is required for school-aged children in Ontario.

Pneumococcal Pneumonia
Pneumonia (pneumococcal disease) can cause many types of illnesses including infections of the ears and sinuses. It is spread from person-to-person by direct contact with respiratory secretions, like saliva or mucus.

The pneumococcal vaccine is available in Ontario.

Polio (poliomyelitis) is a contagious disease that can be prevented by vaccination. It is caused by poliovirus type 1, 2 or 3. It is spread from person to person and through contaminated food and water. Polio can attack the central nervous system and destroy the nerve cells that activate muscles, which may cause paralysis and death. It mainly affects children under age five; however, infection and paralysis may occur in individuals of any age who are not immune.

The polio vaccine is required for school-aged children in Ontario.

 Rubella is a highly contagious, but preventable diseases caused by the rubella virus. Infections are not usually serious, but can cause complications including internal bleeding, inflammation of the brain or a viral infection of the brain.

Complications in pregnant women can cause congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) which can lead to major birth defects, miscarriage or stillbirth. Babies with CRS can suffer from:

  • deafness
  • eye, heart and brain defects
  • lifelong mental and physical disabilities

The rubella vaccine is required for school-aged children in Ontario.

Sexually Transmitted Infections
 For information visit our Sexually Transmitted Infections page.


Shingles is a skin infection caused by the chickenpox virus. Only people who have had chickenpox or have been vaccinated for chickenpox can get shingles. The chickenpox virus 'sleeps' in the body and can cause shingles later in life. Shingles is most common in individuals over 50 years of age, and those with weakened immune systems. The severity of shingles can increase with age and a weakened immune system.

Speak to your doctor about the shingles vaccine.


Tetanus or lockjaw is a serious disease that can happen if dirt with the tetanus germ gets into a cut in the skin. Tetanus germs are found everywhere, usually in soil, dust, and manure. It does not spread from person to person. Tetanus causes cramping of the muscles in the neck, arms, leg and stomach, and painful convulsions which can be severe enough to break bones.

The tetanus vaccine is required for school-aged children in Ontario.


Tuberculosis (TB) is a curable, infectious disease caused by bacteria. TB usually affects the lung but can also attack other parts of the body. Tuberculosis is preventable, treatable and curable.

For more information visit our Tuberculosis page.

West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is a virus carried by mosquitos that can cause serious illness. The virus spreads when a mosquito feeds on an infected bird and then bites a person.

For more information visit our West Nile Virus page.

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a disease that is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. It gets its name from the yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) that occurs when the virus attacks the liver.

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