Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
The bacterium Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).
Nature of the disease
Haemophilus influenzae type b is a common cause of bacterial pneumonia and meningitis and of a number of other serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, including epiglottitis, osteomyelitis, septic arthritis and sepsis in infants and older children.
Hib is estimated to cause at least 8 million cases of serious disease and hundreds of thousands of deaths annually, worldwide. Rarely occurring in infants under 3 months or children after the age of 5 years, the disease burden is highest between 4 and 18 months of age. Hib is the dominant cause of sporadic (non-epidemic) bacterial meningitis in this age group, and is frequently associated with severe neurological sequelae despite prompt and adequate antibiotic treatment. In developing countries, it is estimated that 7–8 million cases of Hib pneumonia occur each year. The disease has practically disappeared in countries where routine vaccination of children is carried out.
Risk for travellers
All unprotected children are at risk, at least up to the age of 5 years.