Haemophilus influenzae type b

Introduction

Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) is a bacterial infection that can cause a number of serious illnesses such as pneumonia, blood poisoning and meningitis, especially in young children.

This is a disease that is preventable by vaccination.

Many of the children who get Hib infections become very ill and need hospital care. All of the illnesses caused by Hib can kill if they are not treated quickly. For example, about 1 child in 20 who develop Hib meningitis dies.

How common is it?

Before the Hib vaccine was introduced in 1992, around 1 child in 600 in the UK developed some form of Hib disease by their fifth birthday.

Since the Hib vaccine was introduced, cases of Hib disease in children under five have fallen by 99%. The rate of Hib disease in children under five is now the lowest that it has ever been.

The number of unvaccinated older children and adults who get the disease has also fallen by 96%.

Vaccination

Vaccinating children against Hib has been very successful in cutting rates of Hib disease.

Over the last 16 years in the UK, Hib vaccination has prevented about 11,300 cases and 418 deaths in children under four.

The Hib vaccine is offered to children at two, three and four months of age as part of the combined DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine.

A booster dose is offered between 12 and 13 months of age as part of the combined Hib/MenC booster, to provide longer-term protection.

Last updated: 04 October 2011