Haemophilus B (Hi B) infection- How serious is the disease?

HiB as it’s commonly called, is a bacteria causing a vast variety of problems in children from ear infections to brain infections.


What are the symptoms of this infections?

This disease causes different presentations in the child based on the site of infection.


Brain infections (meningitis)-

This is the dreaded disease. It can present as

  • Fever, weakness.

  • Confusion or drowsiness

  • Headache

  • Neck pain

  • Repeated vomiting in babies


The other infections by HiB are


Tonsillitis and ear infections-

  • The child can have pain in throat or ear along with fever and decreased feeding or with vomiting.


Skin infection or joint infections-

  • Leading to pain and fever in the child



  • Presents with a cough and breathlessness.


How does HiB spread?

This bacteria spread easily when the infected child coughs or sneezes


How can I prevent my child getting HiB infection? 

The number of children affected has largely come down after the compulsory vaccination.

The vaccine can be given individually or in combination with other vaccines.

In children less than 1 year, it is given as 3 doses with a 1-month gap in between.

To top up the immunity, a booster dose is given at 1 year. Booster doses are used to remind the body how to react to infections.


The risk of infection reduces with increasing age.Hence in children over one year, they need only one dose. and children over 10 years, need not be immunised unless special conditions( Cancer patients, immunity problems)

If your child gets infected with this bacteria, halfway through immunisation, then make sure he completes his required HIB doses, and if he has finished all his HIB vaccine, and still gets the infection, then give them a booster dose.


How can I be sure if my child is immune?

You can get blood tests to see how immune he is to Haemophilus infection.


How is the vaccine given?

It is given as an intramuscular injection.

It can be combined with other vaccines like Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio and given together


What are the side effects of the vaccine?

The vaccine is well tolerated by most children. Some children may have Redness or fever with the vaccine.


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