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What is Hib Vaccine? Print E-mail
Written by Mike Cohen   
Sunday, 18 October 2009

This vaccine is given to prevent infections caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b, called Hib, bacteria. These bacteria grow in the upper airway of children and adults.

Most of the time, they do not cause any problems. However, they can cause serious illnesses, such as:
# bacterial meningitis, an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord
# septic arthritis, an infection of the joints
# cellulitis, an infection of the skin and tissue underneath it
# bacteremia, a blood infection
# pneumonia, or lung infection
# epiglottitis, an infection of a portion of the voice box, known as the larynx

Before a Hib vaccine was made, there were about 20,000 Hib infections each year in the US, which caused up to 1,000 deaths. Hib was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis among children younger than age 5. The number of reported cases has dropped greatly since 1990. In 1995, there were only 259 cases reported.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?
Hib is one of the recommended childhood vaccines. Depending on the actual vaccine preparation used, a series of shots are usually given at ages:
# 2 months
# 4 months
# 6 months
# 12 to 15 months

The vaccine is not routinely recommended for children over age 5. There is very little Hib disease in children older than 2. If a child has never had this vaccine by the age of 15 months, only one shot is given at that time.

How is the procedure performed?
A shot of the vaccine is given in the muscle of the thigh or arm. The area is cleaned with an antibacterial swab before the shot.


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