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Haemophilus influenzae disease refers to any illness caused by H. influenzae bacteria. Some of these illnesses, like ear infections, are mild while others, like bloodstream infections, are very serious. In spite of the name, H. influenzae do not cause influenza (the flu). While H. influenzae can infect people of all ages, these bacteria usually cause illness in babies and young children. A vaccine can prevent one type of H. influenzae (type b or Hib) disease. CDC recommends Hib vaccination for all children younger than 2 years old.

Vaccines Can Protect Your Child from Hib Disease

Father comforting his crying infant.

Hib can cause severe infections of both the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and the bloodstream. A vaccine can prevent Hib disease. Your child should get the full series of Hib shots as a baby (2 through 6 months). CDC also recommends a booster shot when children are 12 through 15 months old.

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How It Spreads

Girl sneezing.

People can spread H. influenzae, including Hib, by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others. People around them then can breathe in the bacteria. Even people who are not sick can have the bacteria in their noses and throats and spread the bacteria.

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Hib Information Sheet for Parents

Hib basic fact sheet.
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