HiB Vaccines have led to a 90% Decrease in Child Mortality from HiB Pneumonia and Meningitis.

By Charles Li MD

  • The world is getting better
  • HiB used to infect 20,000 Americans each year causing thousands of child deaths before a vaccine became available in the late 1980s. Today, this has gone down to nearly 0.
  • Thousands more children around the world are saved from Pneumonia and Meningitis every year as more kids get the HiB vaccine around the world.
  • At $10 per dose in developing countries, this is one of the best bangs for the buck for saving lives.

What is HiB (Haemophilus Influenzae type B)?

  • HiB are bacteria that can infect the protective wrapping of the brain, the meninges. Once an infection takes root, it can quickly cause death or permanent mental disability from massive inflammation around the brain.
  • Other infections include bacterial infection of the lungs, and even your throat, causing your epiglottis to swell up and cover your windpipe, choking kids to death.
  • These bacteria are everywhere and live harmlessly in many adults without causing disease.
  • However, for children under 5, these bacteria can cause lethal meningitis and pneumonia.
hib growing under the microscope

Should kids get vaccinated?

  • Heck yes!
  • The introduction of the vaccine in the United States led to a dramatic decline of HiB infections.
  • A disease that used to kill thousands of kids every year was near wiped out in the United States within a few years of the vaccine’s introduction.
Reduction in HiB from HiB vaccine introduction
  • According to the CDC, 20,000 American children under age 5 used to get HiB infections every year.
  • 3-6% of these kids would die from the disease.
  • Now, thanks to the vaccine introduced in the 1990s, this has gone down 99%.

The Next Step: Getting this Vaccine to All Kids Around the World

  • In the rest of the world, HiB remains a serious public health issue.
  • A recent study from the Lancet reported that in 2015, the most recent year studied, 975,000 children contracted HiB infections leading to 29,800 deaths.
  • However, this is a dramatic improvement from the year 2000, which saw 363,000 global Hib deaths.
HiB Child Mortality has decreased 90% around the world

Read More about HiB

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1) Wahl, Brian, et al. "Burden of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type b disease in children in the era of conjugate vaccines: global, regional, and national estimates for 2000–15." The Lancet Global Health 6.7 (2018): e744-e757.