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Haemophilus influenzae b (Hib)
Haemophilus influenzae type b, or Hib, is an infection that causes pneumonia and meningitis.
It spreads by droplet through coughs, sneezing and in overcrowded living conditions. It is estimated to cause 2 to 3 million cases of disease each year and about 450,000 deaths, the vast majority of them in developing countries.
Hib is one of the leading causes of these diseases in young children, but because diagnosis is difficult and can be confirmed only where hospital and laboratory facilities are adequate, it often goes unidentified, lumped together with the other causes of pneumonia and meningitis in the countries where the burden of childhood diseases is heaviest. In this way, it has kept a disproportionately low profile for a major killer.
Several vaccines against Hib are already in widespread use in high-income countries, where they have virtually wiped out the disease. The vaccines, based on conjugates of part of the killed bacterium and a protein carrier, are among the safest vaccines in use. Studies have confirmed the effectiveness of these vaccines in low-income countries, but relatively few of these countries have begun routine use in infants.
For more information, see:
- CVP's Hib Quick Facts
At a glance
Vaccine-preventable disease statistics
Glossaire des infections a prévention vaccinale
'Traditional' or 'basic' vaccines
Vaccines that are expected to be available shortly
Vaccines for which more research is needed