Haemophilus Influenzae Infections

What is Haemophilus influenzae?

Haemophilus influenzae, or H. influenzae, is a group of bacteria that cause different types of infections in infants and children. H. influenzae most commonly causes ear, eye or sinus infections and pneumonia. In rare cases, your child may develop a more serious strain of the bacteria, called H. influenzae type b (Hib) infections. This type has been nearly abolished in the United States thanks to the Hib vaccine. H. influenzae infections spread from child to child by direct contact or through the air. The good news is that these infections can be successfully treated with antibiotics.

Types of Haemophilus influenzae

  • Otitis media 
    • middle ear infection
    • may develop after a child has a common cold caused by a virus
  • Conjunctivitis 
    • inflammation of the membrane that lines the inside of the eye and also a thin membrane that covers the actual eye
  • Sinusitis 
    • infection in the sinuses
  • Epiglottitis 
    • prevented by Hib vaccine
    • very rare in children and infants
    • life-threatening
    • infection of the area of the throat that covers and protects the windpipe
  • Meningitis 
    • prevented by Hib vaccine
    • very rare in children and infants
    • infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord