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Hib is a bacteria which causes serious illness in young children. Hib disease has almost disappeared since the vaccine programme was introduced. Hib was the most common cause of life-threatening bacterial infection in children under five years old. Before the vaccine one in every 350 children had the disease before they were five years old.
Hib bacteria are found in the nose and throat, usually without causing symptoms, and are spread through the air by breathing, coughing and sneezing.
Hib most often leads to:
meningitis, an infection of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord
epiglottitis, an infection and swelling in the throat that blocks the breathing passages.
It can also cause other forms of illness such as pneumonia, infection of the joints and skin infection. Although antibiotics can be used to treat the disease, children still die and some risk permanent ongoing damage to the brain and spinal cord.
About one in 20 patients with meningitis dies and one in three survivors has permanent brain or nerve damage.
About one in 100 patients with epiglottitis dies.
This disease is covered on the New Zealand Immunisation Schedule. The vaccines used are INFANRIX®- hexa and HiberixTM. HiberixTM will be replaced by ACT-HIBTM later this year.
Disclaimer - The Meningitis Foundation Aotearoa New Zealand promotes the prevention, control and awareness of meningitis. It is not a professional medical authority. The text on this website provides general information about meningitis and septicaemia, not medical advice. It is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of these diseases. Please consult your doctor to discuss the information or if you are concerned someone may be ill.
We need your help in reducing and preventing meningitis. Your support will assist the Foundation’s work in the fight against this disease.