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Types of Infection Haemophilus influenzae Can Cause

Haemophilus influenzae bacteria most often cause pneumonia, a lung infection. Before we had a Hib vaccine, Hib was the number one cause of bacterial meningitis in children younger than 5 years of age.

Haemophilus influenzae bacteria, including Hib, can cause many kinds of infections. These can range from mild ear infections to severe diseases, like bloodstream infections. Haemophilus influenzae bacteria most often cause pneumonia, a lung infection.

When the bacteria invade parts of the body that are normally free from germs, like spinal fluid or blood, this is known as "invasive disease." Invasive disease is usually severe and can sometimes result in death.

The most common types of invasive Haemophilus influenzae disease are:

  • Bacteremia (blood infection)
  • Meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord)
  • Epiglotittis (an inflammation of the windpipe; can cause breathing trouble)
  • Cellulitis (skin infection)
  • Infectious arthritis

Before we had a Hib vaccine, the most common type of invasive Haemophilus influenzae disease was meningitis.

Haemophilus influenzae bacteria can also be a common cause of ear infections in children and bronchitis in adults. Learn more about these respiratory illnesses.

Most Common Types of Severe Haemophilus influenzae Disease, 2003-2012.

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