Medical Conditions

Health Center



Haemophilus influenzae Type b (Hib)

Print, Share, or View Spanish version of this article

What is Haemophilus influenzae type b?

  • A type of bacteria that causes infections; infections caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) can be prevented by the Hib vaccine, which is part of the routine childhood immunizations.

  • This bacteria can infect ears, eyes, and sinuses. Before the vaccine was introduced, it also caused more serious infections, such as epiglottis (ie, infection of the flap that covers the windpipe), and infection of skin, lungs, blood, joints, and coverings of the brain (meningitis).

  • Not to be confused with “the flu,” which is a disease caused by influenza, a virus.

  • There are Haemophilus influenzae types other than type b that are less dangerous. Those bacteria commonly cause ear and sinus infections.

What are the signs or symptoms?

Depends on the site of infection. May include

  • Fever

  • Vomiting

  • Irritability

  • Stiff neck

  • Rapid onset of difficulty breathing

  • Cough

  • Warm, red, swollen joints

  • Swelling and discoloration of the skin, particularly of the cheek and around the eye

What are the incubation and contagious periods?

  • Incubation period: Unknown

  • Contagious period: Until antibiotic treatment has begun

How is it spread?

  • Respiratory (droplet) route: Contact with large droplets that form when a child talks, coughs, or sneezes. These droplets can land on or be rubbed into the eyes, nose, or mouth. The droplets do not stay in the air; they usually travel no more than 3 feet before falling onto the ground.

  • Contact with the respiratory secretions from or objects contaminated by children who carry these bacteria.

How do you control it?

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b infection is a vaccine- preventable disease. Children should receive the vaccine according to the most recent immunization recommendations.

  • Preventive antibiotics (chemoprophylaxis) for exposed children and staff may be considered on the advice of the local health department if a child is seriously ill with meningitis or blood infection due to Hib. For this reason, alerting the local health department if a child has been diagnosed with Hib is very important. This is not commonly needed now that Hib immunization is widespread. Immunized people are protected if they encounter a sick individual with a Hib infection.

What are the roles of the teacher/caregiver and the family?

  • Report the infection to the staff member designated by the child care program or school for decision-making and action related to care of ill children. That person, in turn, alerts possibly exposed family and staff members and the parents of unimmunized or incompletely immunized children to watch for symptoms and notifies the health consultant.

  • Report the infection to the local health department. If the health professional who makes the diagnosis does not inform the local health department that the infected child is a participant in a child care program or school, this could lead to a delay in controlling the spread.

  • Household members and children (especially those younger than 4 years) who are under-immunized or unimmunized and attending a group care setting where 2 or more cases of Hib infection occur within 60 days may need to take an antibiotic to prevent the spread of this disease and should be offered the vaccine. Do not exclude children and staff members who have been exposed as long as they have no other reasons for exclusion.

  • Ensure exposed children who develop a fever are seen by a health professional as soon as possible.

  • Use good hand-hygiene technique at all the times listed in Chapter 2.

  • Clean and sanitize surface areas and items that are contaminated by children’s respiratory (nasal and cough) secretions.

Exclude from group setting?

Yes.

Exclude all children with a diagnosis of Hib infection.

Readmit to group setting?

Yes, when all the following criteria are met:

  • After the child has been cleared by a health professional

  • When the child is able to participate and staff members determine they can care for the child without compromising their ability to care for the health and safety of the other children in the group

Listing of resources does not imply an endorsement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP is not responsible for the content of external resources. Information was current at the time of publication.

The information contained in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Quick Reference Sheet from Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools: A Quick Reference Guide.

© 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics. All rights reserved.

Is Your Child Sick?TM

New @ Delaware Peds

  • Enter our family car magnet campaign today!

    Enter our car magnet "Families that Play Together Stay Together" campaign for a chance to win a membership or experience at one of several regional attractions.
     
  • Flu Vaccine

    WE HAVE MULTIPLE OPENING FOR FLU SHOTS ON TUESDAY 10/8/19 THROUGHOUT THE DAY PLEASE CALL THE OFFICE MONDAY OR TUESDAY TO SCHEDULE. Flu Shots are available for all patients at both locations, currently Flumist (nasal flu), is not available. The earlier you child is vaccinated, the sooner he/she will be protected. You can call now to make an appointment for a nurse only visit, to receive the vaccine.
     
  • Dr Franczyk

    Dr Franczyk will start seeing patients, on Wednesdays, at our Appoquinimink office starting July 3rd. This will help increase our patient’s access to his care. He will continue his normal office hours on Monday, Thursday and Friday at the North Wilmington office.
     
  • Well Visits

    Please take the time to contact us to schedule your child’s well visit. 
     
  • Getting Kids to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

    Here is some sound advice about how to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables.
     

Appoquinimink Office
3920 South DuPont Pkwy | Townsend, DE 19734
Phone: 302-449-2570 | Fax: 302-449-2573
Office Hours | View Map

North Wilmington Office
1403Foulk Rd | Wilmington , DE 19803
Phone: 302-762-6222 | Fax: 302-764-6058
Office Hours | View Map

Copyright © 2019 Delaware Pediatrics. All rights reserved.