Haemophilus Influenzae type B (Hib)Click on the photo above to open the Haemophilus Influenzae type B page from the Vaccine-Preventable Diseases eBook!
Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib) is a serious bacterial infection that can cause acute bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, seizures, permanent deafness and mental retardation. Symptoms of Hib infection can include cellulitis (an inflammation of the underlying tissues of the skin), osteomyelitis (an infection of the bone and/or bone marrow), joint infections, bacteria in the blood, and inflammation of the epiglottis (the flap of tissue that sits at the base of the tongue that keeps food from going into the trachea, or windpipe, during swallowing). Most children with Hib disease need care in the hospital.
Even with treatment, as many as 1 out of 20 children with Hib meningitis die. As many as 1 out of 5 children who survive Hib meningitis will have brain damage or become deaf. Before the Hib vaccine was available, Hib caused serious infections in 20,000 children and killed about 1,000 children each year. Since the vaccine's introduction in 1987, the incidence of severe Hib disease has declined by 99% in the United States.
Recent outbreaks of Hib have resulted in the deaths of children in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Additionally, several children have been hospitalized with the disease, indicating that this dangerous disease is spreading once again.
The Hib vaccine protects children against Hib infection. Three or four doses of Hib vaccine are needed to be fully protected (depending on the vaccine brand). The first dose should be given at 2 months, the second dose at 4 months, the third dose at 6 months (if needed), and the last dose between 12 and 15 months.
There is currently no routine recommendation for adults to receive this vaccine.