Hib(Haemophilus influenzae type b) is a bacteria which causes serious illness in young children. Hib disease has almost disappeared since the vaccine programme was introduced. Hib was once the most common cause of life-threatening bacterial infection in children under 5 years old. Before the vaccine, 1 in every 350 children had the disease before they were 5 years old.
Hib bacteria are found in the nose and throat, usually without causing symptoms, and are spread through the air by breathing, coughing and sneezing.
Hib most often leads to:
It can also cause other forms of illness such as pneumonia, infection of the joints and skin infection. Although antibiotics can be used to treat the disease, children still die and some risk permanent damage to the brain and spinal cord.