Haemophilus influenzae Disease (Including Hib)
Haemophilus influenzae disease is a name for any illness caused by bacteria called H. influenzae. 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). Vaccines can prevent one type of H. influenzae (type b or Hib) disease.
Hib can cause severe infections of both the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and the bloodstream. Vaccines can prevent Hib disease. CDC recommends Hib vaccination for all children younger than 2 years old.
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.