Can Hib Be Prevented and Are There Treatment Options?
Before the vaccine, most children acquired natural immunity to Hib by the time they were 5 or 6 years old through asymptomatic infection. Passive protection is also provided to infants by antibodies acquired from the mother through the placenta and by breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life. If a child is diagnosed with severe symptoms of Hib, hospitalization is usually required, and tests are administered to identify the bacteria and to determine what type it is, if it is indeed Haemophilus influenzae. The child is then treated with an antimicrobial therapy for 10 days.1
Additionally, glucocorticoids may be given to reduce the incidence of neurologic problems by reducing inflammation that occurs when the antibiotic begins working. An intravenous drug called Dexamethasone may also be used on children over 2 months old. While fluoroquinolones can also treat H. influenzae, it isn’t recommended for children or pregnant women.
IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib) and the Hib vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents, which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.
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1 CDC.gov. Haemophilus Influenzae Type B. The Pink Book. No Date. Online. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/hib.pdf. (Accessed June 2012)