Hib is the shortened version of Haemophilus influenza type b. This is a type of bacteria that can cause a serious brain infection in children called meningitis. This bacterium can also cause a life-threatening throat infection, called epiglottitis, and it sometimes causes bone and joint infections as well.
Does the Hib bacterium cause the flu?Even though it has “influenza” in its name, this bacterium has nothing to do with the flu. The flu is caused by a virus, and these two bugs really have nothing in common. Consequently, if your child received the flu shot, she is not protected from this bacterium.
The Hib bacterium used to cause one of the most dreaded childhood infections. A brain infection from this bacterium is extremely dangerous. Even if the infection does not kill your child, it may leave him with permanent hearing loss, mental retardation, or blindness. In addition to brain infection, the Hib bacterium can also cause a life-threatening throat infection that causes the throat to rapidly swell up and cut off the oxygen supply from the body. Less commonly, Hib can also cause infections of the bones and joints. These infections are not as dangerous as the brain or throat infection, but they may cause permanent damage to the bones or joints. Occasionally, the Hib bacterium can also cause pneumonia.
Symptoms of Hib Infection
Symptoms of Hib include:
Swelling in the throat
Swelling in the brain
Middle ear infection
One out of twenty children with brain infection caused by Hib will die, and many more will be left with more serious disabilities, including blindness, mental retardation, or seizure disorder.