Haemophilus Influenzae Type B Vaccination
Haemophilus Influenzae (Hib) is a bacterium that is normally present in the upper respiratory tract. Sometimes this bacterium may enter other areas of the body and cause infections. The bacteria are spread through contact with droplets from the nose or throat from an infected person. To avoid spreading this disease, people who are infected with Hib should stay home until they have had 72 hours of an appropriate antibiotic.
When Hib invades the body, the infection can cause:
- Meningitis (inflammation around brain and spinal cord)
- Epiglottis (inflammation of area in lower throat)
- Osteomyelitis (infection of bones and joints)
- Cellulitis (infection of tissue under the skin)
Signs & Symptoms of Haemophilus Influenzae
The signs and symptoms can vary depending on which part of the body is affected and may include the following:
- Stiff neck
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing.
- Shortness of breath and chest pain
- Loss of energy and appetite
- Bone swelling, pain and inflammation
- Red, swollen areas of skin with possible fluid or pus
Meningitis and Epiglottitis are nearly always fatal without appropriate treatment. Up to 30% of individuals who survive a Hib infection will have permanent neurological deficits.
Since the introduction of routine Hib vaccination, cases have steadily decreased however immunosuppressed individuals including those without a spleen are at greater risk of infection if they have not been immunised.
How is Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) diagnosed and treated?
Diagnosis is confirmed by laboratory testing of samples of blood, cerebrospinal, pleural or joint fluid.
Treatment will depend on the type of infection and may occur in hospital. A 10-day course of antibiotics will usually be required, as well as fever and pain relief, fluids and breathing support.
How can I protect myself from Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)?
Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing Hib disease. Vaccination is recommended as part of the National Immunisation Schedule for all children at 2, 4, 6, and 18 months of age. It is given as a combined injection with other immunisations recommended at the same age.
Individuals without a spleen, or a functioning spleen who were not appropriately immunised in childhood are recommended to receive one dose of Hib vaccine.
Stem cell transplant recipients are recommended to also receive 3 doses of Hib vaccine at 6, 12 and 18 months after transplant.
Who can get vaccinated at National Pharmacies?
Vaccinations are available to individuals 10 years and older in South Australia only. Must be funded privately.
Haemophilus Influenzae Type B Vaccination Pricing: Members from $50.50 per dose, Retail Price from $59.45 per dose.