Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib, H flu)
What is Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease?
Haemophilus influenzae type b is a serious bacterial disease that is sometimes fatal.
Before an effective vaccine became available, Haemophilus influenzae was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis (swelling of the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord) in children ages 2 months to 5 years in the United States.
Another serious infection caused by this organism is epiglottitis, (an infection of the airway which may block the breathing passage and lead to suffocation).
Haemophilus influenzae may also cause infections in the lungs, blood, joints, bones and covering of the heart. This bacterium does not cause the “flu” (influenza).
Who gets Hib disease?
Hib disease was most common in children 2 months to 3 years old, but also occurred in older children, and can occur occasionally in adolescents and adults.
How is the disease spread?
Hib disease spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, especially if he or she does not cover his or her mouth.
What are the symptoms of Hib disease?
- Possibly a stiff neck
Because the bacteria affect different parts of the body, other symptoms may occur.
How long can an infected person spread Hib disease?
An infected person can spread Hib disease as long as the bacteria are present in the nose or throat, and sometimes after they appear to be well. After one to two days of treatment an infected person can no longer spread the disease.
What is the treatment for Hib disease?
Antibiotics are used to treat serious infections.
Should people exposed to an infected person be treated?
- Household members, child care center classmates and children less than 4 years old who are not completely immunized against Hib disease may need to take an antibiotic.
- Pregnant women who are exposed should consult their physicians.
- Persons who have had casual contact such as occurs in a regular classroom, office or factory setting do not need treatment.
How can the spread of Hib disease be prevented?
Vaccines are available to protect against Hib disease. The vaccine series should be given to children beginning at 2 months old.
Where can I get more information?
Contact your doctor or the Southern Nevada Health District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.
Updated on: August 17, 2018