How is Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) meningitis prevented?

Updated: Jul 09, 2018
  • Author: Prateek Lohia, MD, MHA; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
  • Print

The first vaccines against Hib were produced from the polysaccharide capsule material and were licensed in 1985 for routine use in children older than 2 years. However, these vaccines proved ineffective for children younger than 18 months (who are those most likely to develop Hib meningitis) and had only moderate effectiveness in older children. [27]

Subsequently, new vaccines were developed that conjugated a carrier protein to the polyribosyl-ribitol-phosphate (PRP) molecule. These were first licensed in the United States in 1987 but were not approved for use in children as young as 2 months until 1990. All of these agents have demonstrated a considerable degree of immunogenicity, even in very young children. For more information, see Medication.

The failure rate of Hib conjugate vaccines is exceedingly low. Such failures are related, in slightly less than half of all cases, to defined underlying immunological deficiency or other pertinent risk factors. Immunoglobulin (Ig) deficiency and asplenia are the most commonly encountered impediments to effective vaccination. [28]

IgG3-deficient individuals, who may be infection-prone due to low capacity to generate protective antibody levels have been shown to respond well to immunization with the conjugate ACT-HIB vaccine, achieving sufficient levels of antibodies to provide protection against both Hib infections and tetanus. [29]

Side effects of these vaccines are difficult to assess because Hib vaccination is administered concurrently with other vaccinations. The most commonly reported reactions are local erythema, local induration, and irritability. Fever has also been reported. No serious adverse reactions have as yet been clearly linked to the currently used Hib vaccines.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!