Article Diary - General Knowledge Digest

Haemophilus Influenzae Type B - Causes and Symptoms

What is Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)?

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a bacteria responsible for severe pneumonia, meningitis and other invasive diseases almost exclusively in children aged less than 5 years. It is transmitted through the respiratory tract from infected to susceptible individuals.

In 2000, Hib was estimated to have caused two to three million cases of serious disease, notably pneumonia and meningitis, and 386 000 deaths in young children. Hib disease is observed in all parts of the world but is difficult to confirm because it requires prompt laboratory investigation in patients that have not received prior antibiotic treatment.

The vaccine is now used in the routine immunization schedule of more than 100 countries and WHO recommends the use of Hib conjugate vaccines in all countries. The vaccine is available in monovalent presentation or combined with DTP and other vaccine combinations including with hepatitis B and inactivated polio vaccines.

  • Hib is caused by bacteria.
  • Hib can cause different illnesses and conditions:
    - Infection of the covering of the brain/spinal cord(meningitis)
    - Lung infection (pneumonia)
    - Swelling of the throat

What can Hib do to my child?

  • In some cases, Hib can result in sickness or death.
  • Brain infection can cause hearing loss, mental retardation, or death.
  • Lung infection can make it hard for your child to breathe.
  • Swelling of the throat can cause serious breathing problems.

Is my child at risk?

  • All children are at risk.
  • Ask your doctor how to help protect your child.

How does it spread?

  • Breathing
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Talking
  • Some people can spread the bacteria without being sick themselves.
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