Which conditions predispose individuals to Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) meningitis?

Updated: Jul 09, 2018
  • Author: Prateek Lohia, MD, MHA; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
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Conditions that predispose individuals to Hib meningitis include the following:

  • Abnormalities of immunoglobulin (Ig) production or function(eg, agammaglobulinemia, IgG2 subclass deficiency)

  • Sickle cell disease or other causes of actual or functional splenectomy

  • Nephrosis and other forms of chronic renal disease

  • Cystic fibrosis and other forms of chronic pulmonary disease

  • Malignancy requiring chemotherapy or radiotherapy

  • Other diseases requiring the use of immunosuppressive agents

  • HIV infection: Cranial defects associated with abnormal communications of the external environment with the subarachnoid space (Go to HIV-1 Associated CNS Conditions – Meningitis for complete information on this topic.)

Although meningitis in a child older than 5 years is much more likely to be due to meningococcus or pneumococcus than to Hib, some cases of Hib meningitis occur in older children and adolescents, particularly those with the above conditions. Hib meningitis does occur in adults, albeit rarely. Predisposing conditions for Hib meningitis infection in adults are the same as those in children and adolescents. It is unclear whether diabetes mellitus or alcoholism, which may also predispose to Hib meningitis in adults, predisposes adolescents to Hib meningitis as well.

The patient’s race should be considered. The risk for Hib is greater in blacks than in whites and greater in Native Americans than in blacks. (See Epidemiology.)

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