What Is Hib Disease?
Haemophilus influenzae type B, or Hib, is a bacteria that can cause infections. It usually occurs in children under five years old. Hib can lead to:
People can carry Hib bacteria and not know it. These germs can spread from person to person. They usually spread through droplets from an infected person. Sickness will probably not occur when the germs stay in the nose and throat. They can cause serious problems when they spread into the lungs or the bloodstream.
Before the vaccine, severe Hib disease affected about 20,000 United States children under age five.
- Stiff neck
- Other symptoms, depending on the part of the body affected
What Is the Hib Vaccine?
The Hib vaccine is made from inactive parts of the bacteria. It is injected into the muscle.
Who Should Be Vaccinated and When?
In general, children should get doses at:
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 12-15 months
In some cases, your child may only need three doses. This depends on which brand the doctor uses.
If a dose is missed, talk to the doctor. There are different catch-up schedules depending on the brand and your child's age.
This vaccine is not routinely recommended for children aged five years. However, it may be given if your child was not vaccinated before and your child has certain conditions, such as:
What Are the Risks Associated With the Hib Vaccine?
Like any vaccine, the Hib vaccine can cause serious problems, such as a severe allergic reaction. Most people do not have any problems. Some people have redness, warmth, or swelling near the injection site, as well as a fever.
Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) is sometimes given to reduce pain and fever that may occur after getting a vaccine. In infants, the medicine may weaken the vaccine. Discuss the risks and benefits of taking acetaminophen with the doctor.
Who Should Not Be Vaccinated?
The following people should not get the vaccine:
- Children younger than six weeks
- People who have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of Hib vaccine
- People who are moderately to severely ill (they need to wait until they have recovered.)
What Other Ways Can Hib Disease Be Prevented Besides Vaccination?
Antibiotics may be given to certain infants and young children who have not been vaccinated and have been exposed to the disease.
What Happens in the Event of an Outbreak?
In the event of an outbreak, public health officials will determine who is at risk and vaccinate people.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.