Before the Hib vaccine became available, this disease was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in infants and children in the United States. Before the vaccine was developed, there were approximately 20,000 invasive Hib cases annually. Approximately two-thirds of the 20,000 cases were the result of meningitis, and one-third was other life-threatening invasive Hib diseases, such as bacteria in the blood, pneumonia, or inflammation of the epiglottis.
About 1 out of every 200 U.S. children under five years of age got an invasive Hib disease. Hib-related meningitis once killed 600 children each year and left many survivors with deafness, seizures, or mental retardation.
Since the introduction of the conjugate Hib vaccine in December 1987, the incidence of disease has declined by 99 percent. From 1994 to 1998, fewer than 10 fatal cases of invasive Hib disease were reported each year.
This preventable disease was a common, devastating illness as recently as 1990; now, most pediatricians just finishing training have never seen a case. If we were to stop immunization, we would likely soon return to the pre-vaccine numbers of invasive Hib disease cases and deaths.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Current Vaccine Shortages and Delays (3/11/2010). CDC Web site. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/shortages/. Accessed March 26, 2010.
Merck & Co., Inc. PedvaxHIB [Haemophilus b Conjugate Vaccine (Meningococcal Protein Conjugate)] update (1/21/2010). Merck Web site. Available at: https://www.merckvaccines.com/PedvaxHIB_letter_121509.pdf. Accessed March 26, 2010.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccine information statement: Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine (12/16/98). CDC Web site. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-hib.pdf. Accessed September 9, 2009.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Recommended immunization schedule for persons aged 0 through 6 years -- United States (2009). CDC Web site. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/downloads/child/2009/09_0-6yrs_schedule_pr.pdf. Accessed September 9, 2009.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Updated recommendations for use of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine: reinstatement of the booster dose at ages 12--15 months. MMWR 2009; 58(24);673-674.
eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind.
Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click