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Diseases / Hib


What is it?: 

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a bacterium which can cause serious invasive disease especially in young children. Contrary to what the name Haemophilus influenzae suggests, the bacterium does not cause influenza1.

Clinical features: 

Hib infection usually affects children aged below five years. The risk of infection among older children is relatively low. Invasive Hib infection commonly presents with symptoms of infection of membranes covering the brain (meningitis), often accompanied by bacteria entering the bloodstream. It may also affect other parts of the body, such as the lungs, upper part of the throat (epiglottis), joints and bones1.

The clinical features depend on the parts of body being affected. When the membranes covering the brain are infected, there will be fever, headache and stiff neck, coupled with decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, fear of bright light, confusion and sleepiness. When the upper part of the throat is infected, there may be fever, sore throat, drooling, pain on swallowing, refusal to swallow or difficulty in breathing1.

If a child has persistent fever, unusual changes in behaviour and deteriorating condition, or in cases of doubt, medical attention should be sought immediately1.



Mode of transmission: 

Hib infection can be spread by contact with nose or throat secretion of an infected person.1

Incubation period: 

The incubation period usually varies from 2 - 4 days, but can be longer.1


1. Maintain good personal hygiene1

2. Maintain good environmental hygiene1

3. Effective vaccination against Haemophilus influenzae type b1

International childhood immunization recommendation

  • The world health organization (WHO) and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) have already recommended in 2013and 1991 respectively that babies should be vaccinated against Hib2,3
  • Many developed countries including US, UK, Germany, Australia and Canada have followed the recommendation to include Hib vaccination in their childhood immunization schedules , providing better protection for the babies 4-8

    Please talk to your doctor today for earlier and better vaccination planning for your babies!



Prompt antibiotic treatment is necessary for Hib infection. Household members and people having close contact with the patient should be monitored closely for early signs and symptoms of infection. Children younger than 2 years or those with weakened immunity who come into close contact with the patient are at high risk of developing the disease. They should consult the doctor for advice and preventive medication.1


  1. CHP. accessed on 8Feb2021
  2. World Health Organization. Hepatitis B vaccines: WHO position  paper-July 2017. Weekly Epidemiological Record. 2017;92:369–  392. 
  3. ACIP Position Paper, January 2018 / MMRV Vol.67 N1, 2018, p. 1–31.
  4. US CDC immunization schedule. accessed on 8Feb2021
  5. The UK routine immunization schedule. accessed on 8Feb2021
  6. German Vaccination Schedule. accessed on 8Feb2021
  7. Australia immunization program.   accessed on 8Feb2021
  8. Routine Vaccination schedule in Canada. accessed on 8Feb2021