Haemophilus influenzae type b infections (Hib)

Haemophilus influenzae type b infections (Hib) are widespread throughout the world. Hib infections may develop under various forms but meningitis is the most frequent one. Hib infections occur in children under the age of five years, and mostly during the first year of life.
Newborn receives vaccines in the paediatrician's surgery
Newborn receives vaccines in the paediatrician's surgery

Before a vaccine was introduced, WHO estimated that about 2 billion people worldwide were infected with the disease. Hib infections accounted for 3 million cases of severe illness, and 400,000 deaths annually, with a peak of incidence among infants of age 4 to 18 months 1.

Did You Know?

Hib infections are strictly human

Children infect each other through saliva droplets or by playing with contaminated toys

Since 1987, Sanofi began offering a vaccine to protect against this potentially deadly disease

Symptoms and Treatment

  • Following colonization of the pharynx, the bacterium may enter the bloodstream, and subsequently spread to reach various target organs resulting in different clinical forms of Hib disease: meningitis, pneumonia, epiglottitis, arthritis, cellulitis, osteomyelitis.
  • Hib meningitis is often fatal (in 5 to 40% of cases depending on the country) and may lead to neurological sequelae such as deafness, motor deficit, or mental retardation 2.
  • Medical management relies on intensive care and appropriate antibiotic therapy.


  1. Peltola, H. Worldwide Haemophilus influenzae type b disease at the beginning of the 21st century: global analysis of the disease burden 25 years after the use of the polysaccharide vaccine and a decade after the advent of conjugates. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, Apr. 2000.p.302-317.
  2. WHO. Introduction of Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine into immunization programmes. 2000. Accessed January 2018. http://archives.who.int/vaccines-documents/DocsPDF99/www9940.pdf