Haemophilus Influenzae B Disease

Nitin Shah
Consultant Pediatrician and Pediatric Hemato-oncologist, B.J.Wadia Hospital for Children and Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, India
First Created: 04/09/2001  Last Updated: 08/01/2015

Patient Education

What is the Haemophilus influenza B (Hib) disease?

Haemophilus influenza b is a bacteria that is a common cause for meningitis, pneumonia, and other severe infections in children especially in those less than 5 years of age. 95% of Hib infections occur before 5 years of age. In newborn babies, it can also cause septicemia, conjunctivitis, scalp abscess or cellulitis, and septic arthritis (infection in the joints). It is also known as Hib infection of H flu.

How does Hib spread?

There is no specific known cause as to how it spreads. But it may spread by airborne droplets that are transmitted by sneezing or coughing by an infected person. However, vaccination with the Hib vaccine, the incidence of H influenza b infection has dropped but still occurs in unvaccinated children.

How to diagnose H influenza b infection?

Diagnosis of Hib is done by immunological tests and cultures from blood and other infected body fluids and organs of the body.

How is H influenza b infection treated?

Hib infection is treated with antibiotics. The duration of treatment will depend on the severity of the infection and the organ of the body that is involved.

Is there a vaccine to prevent Hemophilus influenza B infection?

Hib vaccine is available. Hib vaccine is given intramuscularly. For a child less than 6 months, 3 primary doses are necessary. The first dose can be given at 6 weeks along with OPV/DPT and subsequent 2 doses at 4 weeks interval along with subsequent OPV/DPT. One booster will be necessary between 15-18 months of age.

For children between 6 months to 12 months: 2 primary doses at 4-8 weeks interval are given followed by a booster at 15-18 months of age. For children between 12-15 months, the only a single primary dose is given followed by a booster at 15-18 months of age. If a child presents beyond 15 months till 5 years of age, only one dose is given straight as the booster dose. It is usually not given after 5 years of age.

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