Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease
Haemophilus influenzae type b disease, also known as Hib, is a bacterial infection that can cause severe illness, particularly in young children.
Hib spreads through droplets from the coughing or sneezing of an infected person, particularly in closed settings such as households and office workplaces.
Signs and symptoms
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck
- Fits or seizures
- Severe drowsiness
- Difficulty waking up
- Loss of consciousness
- Shortness of breath, cough and breathing problems
- Joint pain, swelling and reduced movement of joints
- Red, tender skin
Vaccination recommendations and coverage
A Hib vaccine is recommended at:
- 2 months of age
- 4 months of age
- 6 months of age
- 18 months of age.
Who is most affected?
Those most at risk are:
- children under 5 years of age
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children
- people who have medical conditions that mean they have low immunity (e.g. people being treated for cancer, people with HIV/AIDS, etc.).
How common is it?
There were 73 notifications of invasive Hib disease recorded during 2016–2019, with 22 (30.1%) of these in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. The highest age-specific notification rate was seen in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children aged ˂5 years (3.7 per 100,000 population per year). No cases were recorded in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–24 years.
- The largest reduction in Hib incidence was seen in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children after vaccination was introduced in 1993.
- Hib notification rates among Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children <5 years old remain 12 times higher than those in other children.
No hospitalisation or death data are available for Hib disease, as there are no specific codes to separate those caused by Hib and other types of Haemophilus.