What is Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
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).
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
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
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.
who have had casual contact such as occurs in a regular classroom, office or factory setting do not
How can the spread of Hib disease be
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.