Vaccinate Your Baby

Haemophilus Influenzae type B (Hib)

Click on the photo above to open the Haemophilus Influenzae type B page from the Vaccine-Preventable Diseases eBook!

The Disease

Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib) is a serious illness caused by a bacteria and often affects children under 5 years old. The most common types of serious Hib disease are meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord), pneumonia (lung infection), bacteremia (blood stream infection) and epiglottitis (infection and swelling of the throat). Hib disease can cause lifelong disability and be deadly.

Hib spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Hib causes different symptoms depending on which part of the body is affected. Symptoms may include fever, headache, confusion, stiff neck, and pain when looking into bright lights (meningitis); poor eating and drinking, and vomiting (meningitis in babies); fever and chills, headache, cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain (pneumonia); fever and chills, excessive tiredness, and confusion (bacteremia); and trouble breathing (epiglottitis).

The Statistics

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 Vaccine

The Hib vaccine protects children against Hib infection. Three or four doses of Hib vaccine are needed for the best protection (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.

Additional Resources


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