Haemophilus influenza (Hib)
As recently as the 1980s, Hib infection hit as many as 1 in 200 children and was a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children, which led to irreversible brain damage or death in 25 percent or more of all cases. Pneumonia, bacterial shock and partial amputations of limbs also resulted from this infection, which spreads easily by coughing or sneezing.
Hib vaccine had a dramatic impact on the prevalence of Hib disease. As soon as the vaccine came into use in 1985, the number of cases dropped from 20,000 a year to a few hundred. As the use of Hib vaccine has recently declined, we already are seeing a reemergence of life-threatening Hib infection in the western U.S. Side effects from the Hib vaccine are mainly mild, local reactions of redness, tenderness or mild fever. Very rare allergic reactions have occurred, but no one has died from Hib vaccination. Children should get the Hib vaccine at ages 2, 4 and 6 months; a booster should be given at 12 to 15 months.