Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is spread by coughing and sneezing. Many people have Hib bacteria without becoming ill. However, it can cause serious illness, especially in kids under five. Hib disease can cause infections of the joints, skin, and blood, meningitis (swelling of the covering of the brain and spinal cord), brain damage, and even death. Before the vaccine was available, Hib disease was the most common cause of meningitis in kids under five.

Symptoms of illness include:

  • High fever.
  • Severe headache.
  • Stiff neck.
  • Quiet or withdrawn behavior.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Vomiting.
  • Ear infections.
  • Convulsions.

Scientific Term

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b

Generic Term

  • Hib
  • Hib disease

Age Groups at Risk

Most people over age five don't need Hib vaccine. However, you should discuss getting the vaccine with your health care provider if you have:

  • Sickle cell anemia.
  • A weakened immune system because of HIV/AIDS or other diseases that affect the immune system.
  • Drug treatment, such as long-term steroids.
  • Cancer treatment with X-rays or drugs.
  • A bone marrow or organ transplant.
  • No spleen or a damaged spleen.

Fact Sheets

Vaccine Information

Hib Vaccine is recommended for:

  • All children younger than 5 years old
  • Children over 5 years and adults with certain medical conditions

Vaccine Information Statements

Related Information

Department of Health:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: