Haemophilus Influenzae type B (Hib)
Before Hib vaccination, Hib caused serious infections in 20,000 children each year, producing acute bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, 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). Other 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), epiglottitis (an inflammation of the epiglottis) and joint infections.
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 natural infection of this dangerous disease is beginning to spread once again.
Prior to the vaccine, Hib meningitis killed 600 children each year, and caused seizures among many survivors as well as permanent deafness, and mental retardation. Since the vaccine's introduction in 1987, the incidence of Hib has declined by 98 percent in the United States.