Save your Child from Hib Disease
About Dr Hina Ayesha
Bacterial meningitis is a serious life threatening illness and Haemophilus Influenzae type
b (Hib) is a significant cause of childhood meningitis. It is a major cause of Pneumonia
in children besides causing other potentially fatal illness like epiglottitis.
Hib is estimated to cause at least 3 million cases of serious disease and 400,000 to
700,000 deaths annually world wide in young children. Disease is specially prevalent in
infants and children of 4-18 months of age. 1
In Pakistan, Meningitis is responsible for 5,000 deaths in infancy and almost twice as
many handicapped children ever year. 2.
Those surviving from meningitis may suffer serious long-term sequel. 11% develop hearing
loss, 15% have language disorders or delayed development. 11% have I/Q of < 70, 3-7%
have long-term motor problems like weakness of half of the body, difficulty in walking due
to weakness of leg muscles, weakness of brain centres and incoordination etc. About 2-8%
have visual impairment. These sequel occur despite the use of appropriate antibiotics.
Antibiotic resistance may
complicate the picture, which is on an alarming increase in developing countries like
" Prevention is better than cure ".
Hib disease is a preventable disease now. Conjugate Hib vaccines are safe and effective.
6. Use of Hib vaccine as a routine childhood immunisation has resulted in a significant
decline in Hib disease in Western Europe, USA, Canada and New Zealand. Developing
countries should therefore urge to prevent the disease by Hib vaccine as the prevalence of
disease is 5-50% more in developing countries 7.
The importance of Hib disease has led WHO consider Hib vaccine as the eighth childhood
immunisation to be included in EPI programme 1.
Hib vaccine is costly but cost is much less than the cost of treatment of acute cases and
resultant chronically handicapped children. Hib vaccine can be incorporated in routine
immunisation schedule of childhood.
" Protect your children against Hib disease Vaccinate your children
with Hib conjugate vaccines ".
1- WHO Position Paper . Wkly Epidermal Rec. 1998:73:64-68.
2- Zulfiqar Bhutta, Burden of Haemophilus Influenzae and Streptococcal Pneumonae
infections during Childhood in Pakistan JCPSP Sept.2000.
3- Sell, S.H. Paediatric Infec Dis. 1983; 2: 90-93. Long term Sequel of bacterial
meningitis in children.
4- Sell, S.H. Haemophilus Influenzae type b meningitis ; manifestations and long term
5- Mc Intyre P, Jepson R, LeedevS,etal. The outcome of Childhood Haemophilus Influenaze
meningitis. A population based study. Medical Journal of Australia 1993;159:766-72.
6- Jones IG, Tyrell H, Hill A et al. Randomised controlled trial of combined diphtheria,
tetanus, whole cell pertussis vaccine administered in same syringe and separately with
Haemophilus Influenzae type b vaccine at two, three and four months of age. Vaccine
7- Shaprio ED, Ward JI. The epidemiology and prevention of disease caused by Haemophilus
Influenzae type b. Epidemol Reviews 199;13:112-143.