Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) disease is a bacterial infection which can cause:
- Severe swelling in the throat, making it hard to breathe
- Infections of the blood, joints, bones, and covering of the heart
- Meningitis (which can lead to lasting brain damage and deafness)
Before the Hib vaccine was introduced, Hib disease was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis among children under 5 years old in the United States. About 20,000 children in the United States under 5 years old got severe Hib disease each year–nearly 1,000 people died. Hib disease is now rare in the United States; the majority of invasive H. Influenzae cases reported in children in recent years have been caused by non-type b strains.